Essential guide to verifying online information

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Verification of online content can be intimidating, but it is not difficult

By First Draft

Being good at verification is mostly about repetition, persistence and using digital investigative tools with a little creativity. There are so many verification tricks and tools available now. In fact, the hardest part might be remembering all of the resources at your disposal.That’s where this book comes in. This is your little condensed guide to the wizardry of verification. It includes essential concepts, checklists and our favorite tips and techniques. Most importantly, it will introduce you to the five pillars of verification, and hopefully serve as a quick reference for how to tackle each one.Information travels so quickly now, and disinformation is becoming so easy to generate and spread that it is important for every journalist — not just the tech reporter and the social media editor — to understand basic verification skills.This is especially true in a breaking news environment, when the pressure is high to both report quickly and get the facts straight. Newsrooms also need to protect themselves from being hoaxed and inadvertently introducing falsehoods to a wider audience. Many agents of disinformation see coverage by established news outlets as the end-goal and will use online spaces to seed rumors and manipulated content, hoping to reach a bigger audience. For more information on this see First Draft’s Essential Guide to ResponsibleReporting in an Age of Information Disorder1.

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