Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

The Week in Fact-Checking: The gift of GIFs

The team behind Argentinian fact-checking website Chequeado is always looking for ways to broaden their audience. This summer, they tried GIFs. “We wanted to expand our readership from the circle who read us already,” says Executive Director Laura Zommer. Find out what they learned from the pilot project.

Quote of the week
“To be clear, I support the act of checking facts, of holding candidates accountable for what they say and calling them out when they are lying. My objection is to the label ‘fact-checking,’ because I’m old-school enough to remember when we called it by another name: journalism.” — Salt Lake Tribune columnist Sean P. Means

New on the Potted-Plant-O-Meter: Elaine Quijano
The vice-presidential debate drew smaller audiences and far less scrutiny from media watchers concerned about the role of the moderator in fact-checking the candidates. On Tuesday night, it showed.

Fact-checking tip: How to write about ‘Chyyyynuh’
This Quartz tutorial may have been meant for Donald Trump, but it’s good explainer journalism for anyone who wants to understand, fact-check and write about China and trade.

Fact-checking and the Colombian referendum
A slim majority of Colombian voters rejected the government’s peace agreement with the FARC in a referendum on Sunday. Colombiacheck published two fact checks to help people understand what’s next.

I disapprove of this fact-checking ‘mania’
Alain Juppé, a top candidate in the center-right presidential primaries in France, is no fan of fact-checking. In an interview, he lamented “this mania…for permanent fact-checking: True/False.” Yet he had a pretty limited vision of what fact checks are: “Mr. So-and-So said unemployment is 10.2 percent. False, it’s actually 10.1 percent.”

Extreme fact-checking?
A new study by two Virginia researchers indicates that Republicans are more often the targets of U.S. fact-checkers than are Democrats, and that members of Congress who selected for fact-checking are “more ideologically extreme” than the average politician. The researchers lament the “lack of transparency from [fact-checking organizations] regarding their selection procedures.” Read it.

Bad facts=your facts. Good facts=my facts.
And in other research, three University of Michigan scholars concluded from a recent study that people will believe only good things about their favorite candidate — even when the source of those things is clearly garbage. (And read API’s collection of the latest political fact-checking reporting research here.)

The long life of a winter hoax
Did a German meteorologist really say this is going to be the coldest winter in a century? Nope. And he didn’t say it about 2013, 2014 or 2015 either.

Some fact-checking fun
The host and cast of Saturday Night Live fact-checked themselves during the opening monologue of the season premiere. The fictitious National Organization of Fact-Checking Technicians (NOFACT) is threatening to boycott the next U.S. presidential debate. And a parody news site has its own definition of fact-checking. (H/t Glenn Kessler.)


Fact-checking ourselves
Last week our “Fact-checking fun” item mistakenly referred to Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper as “Jordan Clapper.” We regret the error (and shout out to Tamar Wilner for pointing it out).

The good old days 
Hard to imagine it was just last year when this was a threatening line in a cynical TV series about the dark side of American politics. Keep up, Hollywood!

Quick fact-checking links
(1) On Al Jazeera’s Listening Post, a deep dive on whether moderators should fact-check. (2) Even Prime Ministers are calling it “post-truth” now. (H/t Alberto Puoti.) (3) Who do Americans think gets the facts right most of the time? (4) Trump, a blessing and a cursefor political fact-checking. (5) A Rasmussen poll says that most voters (who were asked this arguably “leading” question) don’t trust media fact-checking, but a SurveyMonkey poll says many voters consulted a fact-checking site during the first presidential debate.

Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

The American Press Institute

Our mission

We help transform news organizations for an audience-centered future.

Our programs for publishers focus on four things:

  • 1. Understand your audience
  • 2. Get your audience to pay
  • 3. Transform your culture
  • 4. Do your best journalism
  • Find out more about API »

API solutions for publishers

What we can do for you

API offers a suite of original tools and services for solving the biggest challenges in news:

  • Decide what beats to cover and how
  • Identify and develop the skills you need
  • Assess and improve your culture
  • Drive more reader revenue
  • Drive loyalty through accountability journalism
  • Make analytics work for you
  • Contact us to find out how »