Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

The Week in Fact-Checking: Wikipedia “edit-a-thon”

Wikipedia is a treasure trove of the information age, albeit one with a generous sprinkling of counterfeit loot. Fact-checkers are increasingly cooperating with the Wikimedia Foundation (which operates Wikipedia) on “edit-a-thons” to make the online encyclopedia stronger. Check out how Lupa did it in Brazil.

Quote of the week
“We have a particular challenge in American society in making sure that broad [parts] of the population are engaged in politics, democratic governance, and in news generally. I think we have a problem with a lot of people either not tuning in or being apathetic. But I think that’s a challenge for all of American society: not just news, not just journalists, but everybody.” — Angie Holan, PolitiFact editor

New report: “Facts we can believe in”
A Legatum Institute report outlines suggestions to make fact-checking better. These include mainstreaming it in the media, penetrating the echo chambers and launching a Transparency International-style NGO to counter disinformation.

Fact-checking tip
The problem with numbers is that people can abuse them in so many ways. Cherry-pick them, overestimate them, ignore them, fuzzy-math them. That’s why it’s a good idea to check the numbers in the polls mentioned by candidates and their campaigns. The Upshot shows you how.

Fact-checking extreme weather
Any form of extreme weather tends to bring out the fake photos, and Hurricane Matthew was no exception. A photo of a shark allegedly hanging out on the flooded streets of a Florida city was a fake, and Gizmodo made a great GIF to debunk it:

Calling on the fact-checkers
On the debate stage Sunday, Hillary Clinton asked viewers to fact-check in real time. Just a few days earlier, the Irish Minister for Social Protection called on’s fact-checker from the floor of Parliament to scrutinize his opponents accusations.

Speaking of debate fact-checking…
Liskittlefehacker has compiled a handy roundup of some of the fact-checking from last week’s U.S. presidential debate, in case you missed it or want to prepare for next week’s debate. Also, get your Skittles ready.

A day in the life of a fact-checker
Full Fact looks at how some data can skirt frustratingly close to providing an answer on the accuracy of a political claim, but still not deliver. The British fact-checkers are partnering with the House of Commons Library, the UK Statistics Authority and the Economic and Social Research Council to address gaps in data that journalists use.

Against the “post-fact” cliché
Readers are demanding fact-checking from their media outlets. Fact-checkers are breaking traffic records. A study showed readers exposed to fact-checking do become more accurate. So perhaps this talk of a “post-fact” election is overblown.

The science of fact-checking2256175403_f982a7b193_z
Why are there some people who simply pay no attention to facts and fact-checking? A California mental health expert explains that our ancestors, lions, fear-mongering, and a body part called the amygdala all have something to do with it. Read this and impress your friends at happy hour.

Some fact-checking fun
The Miami University student newspaper fact-checked a freshman roommate pitch on Facebook. …The Daily Show’s “What the Actual Fact” gives up on “the noble craft” of fact-checking after watching last week’s presidential debate. …ThrowbackThursdayWonder Woman tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she’d like to invent a “lasso of truth” for politicians.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) The town hall format isn’t conducive to fact-checking. (2) Yes, a moderator can fact-check a guest on stage to great effect. (3) Why fact-checking won’t stop Trump,according to some. (4) Even diplomats fall for fake photos. (5) Full Fact and The Daily Telegraph have a new collaboration. (6) Five more days to donate to Chequeado’s crowdfunding campaign. (7) Another Facebook fake news story. (ICYMI, we think Facebook should hire fact-checkers.)

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 »