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Fact checking

Fact-checking “S-Town”: 5 good questions with Benjamin Phelan

“S-Town,” the latest podcast from “Serial” and “This American Life,” is the entrancing story of the brilliant-but-tortured John B McLemore and his complicated life in Woodstock, Alabama. In its first month, the truly addictive podcast was downloaded more than 40 million times. And if you’ve listened to all seven chapters, it might have seemed as […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: The trouble with reality

“On The Media” co-host Brooke Gladstone published a punchy, short book for those grappling with the state of facts under President Trump. Her recommendation for journalists is to keep fact-checking but provide crucial context if they want to have an impact on reality. “[R]efer to the circumstances in which people live,” she says, “because that’s […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: 100 days later, has anything changed?

In 2016, U.S. fact-checkers drew record traffic — but the Pants-on-Fire candidate still became the Pants-on-Fire president. This complicated reality could have led to big changes to the ways fact-checking is conducted in America. Yet the formats, tone and methods adopted by fact-checkers have barely changed since Trump’s inauguration. Read about the first 100 days […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: Satire and hoaxes meet real life

On Le Monde, Adrien Sénecat has an excellent deconstruction of how satire and hyperpartisan truth-twisting can result in real misperceptions. Step 1: A satirical site writes that French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, caricatured as out-of-touch, feels dirty after touching poor people’s hands. Step 2: Hyperpartisan Facebook pages take this at face value, mixing in footage from […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: With your own two feet

Julien Pain was tired of preaching to the choir. After several years spent debunking viral fakes for France 24’s Les Observateurs, he was on the lookout for a format that would expand the reach of his fact-checking. “I realized I was only reaching people who agreed with me,” he said. Since September, he’s been taking […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: Status report on platforms and misinformation

It was an eventful week for fact-checking and the big tech platforms. To recap: On Thursday, Google announced it would be highlighting fact checks in search results. (Sloppy coverage ensued.) The next day, Facebook launched a public service announcement in 14 countries asking readers to be wary of what it now calls “false news.” (Full […]

Research on journalism, fact-checking and politics: What to watch

Do those post-debate discussions on cable news programs make any difference in how their audience views presidential candidates? Do reporters frame their police-shooting stories differently, depending on whether the suspect is black or white? Can fact-checking persuade people to change their minds about candidates? Those are some of the topics that media and political science […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: How to show up and grow up

Where does fact-checking go from here? A group of experts in information and research — both journalists and non-journalists — spent a day working with the American Press Institute, Poynter Institute, and Duke University’s Reporters’ Lab. In short, they recommended a transformation that includes more visibility and strategies for growth. Related: A call to rethink fact-checking […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: What about the children?

A silver lining in the big, dark storm cloud of “fake news” and misinformation: The recognition that students often lack skepticism and truth-seeking skills. Just this week, we’ve heard about a fifth-grade teacher determined to teach his class how to fact-check;  the “Fake News Finders” that keeps kids after school to talk about misinformation; a Maine library that’s holding a […]

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