As a journalist skepticism is your job. As a citizen skepticism is a survival skill.
Check out this ad campaign created by Mark Graham (CD, Art Director) with Josh Tavlin (CD) and John McNeil (CD) for Brill's Content: Skepticism is a Virtue. [Thanks to Mr. Graham for granting us permission to use this brilliant graphic].
Our Code of Ethics
There's "no other job where you get paid to tell the truth...we are detectives for the people." The late, great investigative reporter Wayne Barrett, in his last column for the Village Voice.
It is because “journalism is a discipline of verification,” that journalists consider the commitment to verification and accuracy a “strategic ritual” and part of their “professional identity,” which is “something that legitimizes a journalist’s social role as being demonstrably different from other communicators.” A devotion to accuracy is the value that journalists add to issues and stories in the information ecosystem. Barbara Gray, Newmark J-School, The Emerald Handbook of Modern Information Management, p 421
 Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2014). The elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect. New York: Three Rivers Press. 98.  Shapiro, I., Brin, C., Bédard-Brûlé, I., & Mychajlowycz, K. (2013). Verification as a Strategic Ritual: How journalists retrospectively describe processes for ensuring accuracy. Journalism Practice, 7(6), 657-673. 669.
Fact checking will bulletproof your reporting
What Do I Check?
Where do I fact check?
Make an Accuracy Checklist a part of your reporting process
Some other good checklists to use:
Fact-checking guides relating to politics:
Always ask yourself these questions when trying to verify information:
Frequent Sources of Error
Source: Carroll, Brian. Writing and Editing for Digital Media. Routledge: 2014.
"subconscious tendency to seek and interpret information and other evidence in ways that affirm our existing beliefs, ideas, expectations, and/or hypotheses. Therefore, confirmation bias is both affected by and feeds our implicit biases. It can be most entrenched around beliefs and ideas that we are strongly attached to or that provoke a strong emotional response." Source: Facing History and Ourselves
How to Thwart Your Confirmation Bias
Click on the "choose course unit" button.
First Draft News is a group of news media partners dedicated to helping reporters find and verify content that emerges online. Their site includes training guides for social media news gathering and verification -- like the above video, for example.
Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers...and other people who care about facts, by Mike Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning at Washington State University Vancouver and head of the Digital Polarization Initiative of the American Democracy Project.
To navigate in this book, click on the down arrow next to contents
Here are some links to lists of fake news sites:
OpenSources "a curated resource for assessing online information sources. Websites in this resource range from credible news sources to misleading and outright fake websites. Headed by Melissa Zimdars of Merrimack College."
Bellingcat - Crowd-sourced investigations, & training citizen journalists in conflict zones
SciCheck FactCheck.org’s SciCheck feature focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy.
FlackCheck political literacy companion site to the award-winning FactCheck.org. The site provides resources designed to help viewers recognize flaws in arguments in general and political ads in particular. Video resources point out deception and incivility in political rhetoric.
SourceWatch (Center for Media and Democracy) profiles the activities of front groups, PR spinners, industry-friendly experts, industry-funded organizations, and think tanks trying to manipulate public opinion on behalf of corporations or government.
Journalism, ‘Fake News’ & Disinformation, Handbook for Journalism Education and Training, UNESCO Series on Journalism Education
Confirmation Bias: "subconscious tendency to seek and interpret information and other evidence in ways that affirm our existing beliefs, ideas, expectations, and/or hypotheses. Therefore, confirmation bias is both affected by and feeds our implicit biases. It can be most entrenched around beliefs and ideas that we are strongly attached to or that provoke a strong emotional response." Source: Facing History and Ourselves (This is a link to a lesson plan).
Fake news is information posing as news, which has not been verified and is not true. It could be clickbait, rumours, hoaxes, propaganda, or satire. Today fake news is overwhelmingly web-driven, but fake news is nothing new.
Check out this explainer on Fake News and the Spread of Disinformation from Journalist's Resource, from the Harvard Shorenstein Center on Media Politics and Public Policy.
Timeline of Key moments in the latest fake news debate from Claire Wardle at FirstDraftNews. FirstDraftNews works with its media partners to improve online news verification, reporting and sharing.
2016's top fake news stories were collected by C|net from the fact-checking sites Snopes, Factcheck,org and Politifact.
Who's reading fake news? According to the Jumpshot Tech Blog:
Data on Facebook’s fake news problem, The Jumpshot Tech Blog, Nov. 29, 2016
This LibGuide was inspired by these excellent works:
7 Types of Mis- and Dis- information from First Draft News
Information and its Counterfeits: Propaganda, Misinformation and Disinformation from Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries
E.S.C.A.P.E. Junk News from Newseum acronym to help students remember six key concepts for evaluating information.
Show your work: The new terms for trust in journalism Via PressThink a project of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, is written by Jay Rosen. 11 ways to use transparency as "the primary means of trust production."
The Filter Bubble is Eli Pariser's theory that personalization on websites and social media we use, creates a filter bubble sending us only information, news and suggestions that confirm our views and likes, and distancing us from other information.
Tools to pop your filter bubble from The Simple Psychological Trick to Political Persuasion, The Atlantic:
Changing Behavior Through Education
We can empower students and readers through education/advocacy about the need for truth in politics, and the efforts to use fake news to destabilizer our democracy, so that they change the way they engage with news, and take steps to verify what they read and share:
From Towards a Post-Lies Future: Fighting "Alternative Facts" and "Post-Truth" Politics by Gleb Tsipursky in The Humanist.
Since ancient Greece, truth in politics has been vital for a democracy to function properly. Citizens need to care about and know the reality of political affairs, at least in broad terms, to make wise decisions regarding which politicians and policies to support. Otherwise, what reason do politicians have to care about serving the true interests of the citizenry? They can simply use emotional manipulation and lies to procure and stay in power, paving the way for corruption and authoritarianism
Indeed, truth in politics is a common good just like clean air and water, and the pollution of truth will devastate our political system just as environmental pollution devastates our planet and our physical health. Fortunately, we can learn from the successes of the environmental movement. It started with small groups of motivated and informed people engaging in sustained education and advocacy. As a result of these efforts, regular citizens increasingly changed their everyday behavior through recycling, repurposing, and composting, while politicians passed pro-environmental legislation such as the Clean Air Act
The protruth movement will require early advocates to act from the same kind of marginalized political position as early environmental activists, fighting both against the political status quo and the tendency of our brains toward lazy thinking.
The News Integrity Initiative at the CUNY J-School is a $14 million fund supporting efforts to connect journalists, technologists, academic institutions, non-profits, and other organizations from around the world to foster informed and engaged communities, combat media manipulation, and support inclusive, constructive, and respectful civic discourse.
The fund is seeded with grants from a coalition of partners, which currently include Facebook, Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Ford Foundation, AppNexus, Knight Foundation, Tow Foundation, Betaworks, Mozilla, and Democracy Fund.
Check the links below:
Latest research on fake news and the spread of misinformation - from Journalist's Resource from Harvard Shorenstein Center
Real news about fake news - from NiemanLab
Community Engagement & Social Journalism
According to Carrie Brown-Smith, Social journalism director at Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY: Social journalism is about finding new ways to serve communities. To recast journalism as a service that helps communities meet their goals and solve problems.Listening to a community: understanding and empathizing with its needs and learning how to help a community share its own knowledge.
Here's Carrie's list of Best Resources on Community Engagement and Social Journalism.
According to Jennifer Preston, Vice President for Journalism, Knight Foundation: "Quality journalism matters...it is a buttress against the torrent of fake news we've seen explode in the past year, and it can help rebuild the diminishing trust many people have in society's core institutions...At Knight, we are supporting projects to help journalists and news organizations build trust with their audience by engaging more directly with community residents." 5 Questions For...Philanthropy News Digest