Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Verification and accuracy

The Week in Fact-Checking: You won, now go fix this thing

We’re counting on these projects to fix a couple of journalism’s stickiest problems: A mobile game that tracks falsehoods, a tool that busts lie-spewing bots, and a quality scorecard for media. They’re among the winners of a $1 million challenge from The Knight Prototype Fund to tackle misinformation and build trust in media. Read this morning’s announcement […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: We’ve seen this scene before

Anyone who’s been surprised by the role of false news in elections probably wasn’t paying attention in history class. David Robert Grimes, an Oxford University researcher who’s studied misinformation and AIDS, writes in The Guardian that dezinformatsiya campaigns were created and directed by the Russians decades ago. Today, he says, nearly all of us are to blame for the spread of […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: That big, gaping partisan divide

An analysis of 10 U.S. partisan publications found that during the 2016 presidential election, popular conservative websites were far more likely to criticize fact-checking organizations than their liberal counterparts. Read about the report on Poynter.org. Quote of the week “Because here’s the thing: fact-checking isn’t friendly. Nor should it be. Fact-checking developed to hold powerful […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: Check, rinse, repeat

You are likelier to think something is true if you’ve encountered it more often, a phenomenon psychologists call the “familiarity effect.” This has bedeviled efforts to root out widespread misperceptions because debunking them inevitably requires repeating them. A new study offers some hope (and tips) for fact-checkers. Quote of the week “On the internet there […]

The Week in Fact-Checking: The truth about fact-checkers’ disagreements

A preliminary study comparing the consistency of ratings by PolitiFact and The Washington Post’s Fact Checker had a promising approach but a misleading conclusion. The key finding, that “14 out of 70 statements (20 percent) received two completely opposite ratings from the fact-checkers” led to a smattering of snarky — and unsubstantiated — headlines. Read the report […]

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 […]

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.

Featured topics

Go deeper on…

Dive deep on everything we produce about these key topics.

Strategy Studies

The best practices for innovation within news organizations

This Strategy Study presents examples and insights about journalism innovation, offering actionable advice and methods to move your journalism and business forward.