What

A collection of tips, platforms and other resources to better practice fact checking and investigative journalism

With political influence over the media and the rise of user generated content via social media, it is becoming harder to distinguish between fact and fiction. When crises, emergencies, elections, and other social conflicts arise, journalists often need to be at the forefront, making sure they provide accountable and timely information. As the phenomenon of ‘fake news’ becomes more widespread, it is essential for media professionals to have the right tools to face its hazards. Investigative journalism goes hand in hand with fact checking, especially when facts that can be key to public interest are often buried and unaccessible.

Below is a list of tools we found that might be of use to journalists, broadcasters and media organisations who are involved in investigative journalism and are trying to fight the surge of fake news. The list will keep on growing but if you think we have missed anything, let us know by emailing editor@publicmediaalliance.org.


Company information extractor

This tool processes documents to scan for company and director names in its database of several million entities worldwide. You can enter a website URL, upload a file or enter text directly. So far the tool can read PDF, Word, Excel, HTML and TXT files. The tool can also process images in multiple formats and extract information via Optical Character Recognition.


Fact checking tips – EIJC17

Here you will find tips from Nils Hanson, editor-in-chief of the Swedish “Mission Investigate”. Hanson gives his advice and ideas on  how to write truthfully, fairly and as accurately as possible.  


“Here’s what you should consider before using a fact-check rating system”  (with free course)

This article by Poynter presents a list of pros and cons of using rating system when establishing the validity of a claim or fact. It also includes a link to a free self-directed course on how to improve your skills in fact-checking and accountability.


Investigative Journalism Manual

This manual is a project of the Global Media Programmes of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), a German political foundation that advocates globally for the promotion of democracy and the enforcement of human rights.  The manual, fully available online, aims at providing journalists – especially those operating in difficult environments – with essential investigative reporting skills. Readers can test their knowledge with quizzes at the end of each chapter and browse through relevant and updated case studies. The manual is available in English, Mongolian and Bahasa.


Klaxon

This tool gives reporters and editors the ability to monitor websites and web files to see if there are any newsworthy changes. You can sign up for email and Slack notifications to keep updated with the latest changes. It’s free for a newsroom to get started with Klaxon but the more you use it, the more likely it is that you will have to pay to keep it running. If you want to read more about Klaxon, check out this article by Poynter.


Offshore Leaks Database

Created by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), this open database collects information about more than 520,00 offshore entities – people and companies in more than 200 countries. The database reveals more than 370,000 names of people and companies involved in offshore entities. You can search by country or jurisdiction, view popular searches and the key players of investigations such as the Paradise and Panama Papers.


Solutions that can stop fake news spreading

BBC’s tips on how to limit and combat the spread of fake news including examples, brief case studies and useful resources.


“Tips on fighting fake news from the people who debunk it for a living”

This article on Quartz gathers and explores tips from organisations and people that fight fake news for a living, such as Snopes and Storyful. The list includes examples and useful links to external resources.


Verification Handbook

This handbook was primarily crafted keeping journalists, newsrooms and aid organisations in mind but can be used by anyone. Written by journalists from the BBC, Storyful, ABC, Digital First Media and many other experts in verification, the handbook provides tools, techniques and step-by-step guidelines for how to deal with user-generated content (UGC). This handbook specifically provides practical advice that helps newsrooms prepare for natural disasters and crisis, and how to verify information and material (such as photos and videos) provided by citizens during those times.