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

With growing political interference in 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 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 needed 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.

Accuracy (guidance by ABC Australia)

ABC Australia’s guidance to its employees on their responsibility to ensure accuracy as a public service broadcaster. The issues covered, such as putting facts in context, are relevant to all journalists.

An accuracy checklist to take with you (checklist by NPR)

This straight-forward checklist by NPR is useful for all journalists who value accuracy, and especially those who rely upon public trust.

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.

Conspiracy Beliefs and How to communicate uncertainty (Briefings by Full Fact, Africa Check and Chequeado)

These briefings, by Full Facts researcher Dr Dora-Olivia Vicol, explore two topics relevant to any communicators – especially journalists. These concise briefings, which use case studies and introduce psychological concepts, conclude with several recommendations for fact-checkers and journalists.

Digital Investigation Recipes (articles and guides by First Draft, the Public Data Lab, the Digital Methods Initiative, and Open Intelligence Lab)

The articles in this series present various examples of contemporary online misinformation. But it is each article’s accompanying “recipe” for digital investigation that makes this resource uniquely useful. Each method uses free software.

Get Your Facts Straight: The Basics of Fact-Checking (Guide)

This article by Deepak Adhikari, editor of South Asia Check, explains the basics of fact-checking. It is part of The Kit, a collection of short guides by Exposing the Invisible. It includes definitions of terms, uses examples, and provides additional resources. Adhikari emphasises the importance of fact-checking stories which are in the public interest.

“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.

Identifying and Tackling Manipulated Media (online course by Reuters)

This free online course created by Reuters and available in 16 languages introduces journalists to various types of manipulated media, including deepfakes. The final chapter suggests verification techniques specific to synthetic media, before presenting a newsroom scenario which you must react to.

Investigative Journalism Handbook (handbook by Al Jazeera Media Institute)

This new handbook by the Al Jazeera Media Institute is available in English and Arabic. It is written from the perspective of journalism in the Arab countries, but this does not limit it. The authors hope to impart vital investigative skills and encourage critical thinking.

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.


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.

Observation and Verification (interactive challenges by First Draft)

First Draft’s interactive challenges test your visual researching and online sleuthing skills. Throughout the short challenges, tips for verifying facts and identifying locations are given.

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.

The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) (website)

The International Fact-Checking Institute (IFCN), launched in 2015 as part of the Poynter Institute, reviews fact-checkers according to its code of principles. Verified signatories to the code are considered reliable fact-checkers. IFCN also provides training, articles, a newsletter, and various fact-checking tools on its website.

Triage your fact-checking: a method (and board game) (best practice by NPR)

Specialists from NPR’s training team have created this simple guide for prioritising fact-checks, from fact-checks of claims which are non-controversial and easy to verify, to the opposite.

Verification Handbook (Latest Edition)

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.