335 research outputs found

    Faulty Metrics and the Future of Digital Journalism

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    This report explores the industry of Internet measurement and its impact on news organizations working online. It investigates this landscape through a combination of documentary research and interviews with measurement companies, trade groups, advertising agencies, media scholars, and journalists from national newspapers, regional papers, and online-only news ventures

    The Fact-Checking Universe in Spring 2012: An Overview

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    By almost any measure, the 2012 presidential race is shaping up to be the most fact-checked electoral contest in American history. Every new debate and campaign ad yields a blizzard of fact-checking from the new full-time fact-checkers, from traditional news outlets in print and broadcast, and from partisan political organizations of various stripes. And though fact-checking still peaks before elections it is now a year-round enterprise that challenges political claims beyond the campaign trail.This increasingly crowded and contentious landscape raises at least two fundamental questions. First, who counts as a legitimate fact-checker? The various kinds of fact-checking at work both inside and outside of journalism must be considered in light of their methods, their audiences, and their goals. And second, how effective are fact-checkers -- or how effective could they be -- in countering widespread misinformation in American political life? The success of the fact-checkers must be assessed in three related areas: changing people's minds, changing journalism, and changing the political conversation. Can fact-checking really stop a lie in its tracks? Can public figures be shamed into being more honest? Or has the damage been done by the time the fact-checkers intervene?This report reviews the shape of the fact-checking landscape today. It pays special attention to the divide between partisan and nonpartisan fact-checkers, and between fact-checking and conventional reporting. It then examines what we know and what we don't about the effectiveness of fact-checking, using the media footprint of various kinds of fact-checkers as an initial indicator of the influence these groups wield. Media analysis shows how political orientation limits fact-checkers' impact in public discourse

    The Diffusion of Fact-checking: Understanding the Growth of a Journalistic Innovation

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    How and why is political fact-checking spreading across journalism? The research presented in this report suggests that the challenge of disseminating the practice is significant -- mere proximity does not appear to be sufficient to drive adoption. However, we find that factchecking can be effectively promoted by appealing to the professional values of journalists.Our first study considers whether journalists might emulate their colleagues in emphasizing fact-checking, following the practices of professional peers in the way that other journalistic innovations have disseminated. However, the practice does not appear to diffuse organically within a state press corps. While fact-checking coverage increased dramatically during the 2012 campaign, these effects were concentrated among outlets with dedicated fact-checkers. We find no evidence that fact-checking coverage increased more from 2008 to 2012 among outlets in states with a PolitiFact affiliate than among those in states with no affiliate.However, it is possible to effectively promote fact-checking. In a field experiment during the 2014 campaign, we find that messages promoting the genre as a high-status practice that is consistent with journalistic values significantly increased newspapers' fact-checking coverage versus a control group, while messages emphasizing audience demand for the format did not (yielding a smaller, statistically insignificant increase). These results suggest that efforts to create or extend dedicated fact-checking operations and to train reporters are the most effective way to disseminate the practice of fact-checking. While audience demand is an important part of the business case for the practice, newsrooms appear to respond most to messages emphasizing how fact-checking is consistent with the best practices and highest aspirations of their field

    A Comparison of Correction Formats: The Effectiveness and Effects of Rating Scale versus Contextual Corrections on Misinformation

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    What style of journalistic factchecking is most convincing to readers? This study uses an online survey experiment to compare two prevailing approaches to correcting both consumer and political misinformation: factchecks that rely only on written analysis to assess claims, and those that also deploy a graphical meter or "truth scale." Testing a series of simulated factchecks from a fictitious factchecking organization, GetTheFacts.org, we find first of all that both approaches were effective on the whole, with respondents who saw either format significantly more likely than a control group to correctly evaluate a claim that had been previously debunked. Does using a truth meter make a difference? In the case of a misleading advertising claim unrelated to politics, adding a meter to the written analysis appeared to make the correction more convincing. However, both formats proved equally effective in challenging political misinformation. Both formats also yielded their largest improvements among readers who selfidentified from the same party as the politician being checked. Although respondents scored best in identifying misinformation from a politician of the opposing party, seeing a correction made no significant difference in that case. Among other results, we also find that when given the choice, just over half of respondents preferred to see corrections that included a truth scale

    Correcting political and consumer misperceptions

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    While fact-checking has grown dramatically in the last decade, little is known about the relative effectiveness of different formats in correcting false beliefs or overcoming partisan resistance to new information. This article addresses that gap by using theories from communication and psychology to compare two prevailing approaches: An online experiment examined how the use of visual “truth scales” interacts with partisanship to shape the effectiveness of corrections. We find that truth scales make fact-checks more effective in some conditions. Contrary to theoretical predictions and the fears of some journalists, their use does not increase partisan backlash against the correction or the organization that produced it

    Journalism and Source Criticism. Revised Approaches to Assessing Truth-Claims

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    This article presents a hermeneutical epistemology for the assessment and production of truth-claims in journalism. This epistemology is based on Gadamer’s functional hermeneutics, and it advances the concept of source criticism as an alternative to other practices and understandings of information verification in journalism. The article argues that source criticism is a better approach to bridge the gap between news and truth in journalism in a time of “information disorder”. Source criticism is a common concept in certain journalistic cultures, for instance in Scandinavia, but it needs revision due to current developments in digital information networks. A modern version of source criticism offers great value to journalism as (1) guidelines for the practical assessments of sources and source material, (2) a professional attitude related to what it takes to produce truth-claims, and (3) a tool to perform audits of journalism. The article ends with highlighting three norms for journalistic practice and audits of journalism. These norms, which contain operationalisation of source criticism as journalistic epistemology and methodology, are: (1) harness truth-claims with modesty; (2) deploy interpretive transparency; and (3) operationalise self-reflective truth-claims.publishedVersio

    Coming of age: developments in digital-born news media in Europe

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    We examine the editorial and business strategies of 13 European digital-born news media organisations. Although the last two years have been difficult for ad-supported models, advertising remains vital for most. We see an increasing interest in subscription and membership models as long-term (but not difficulty-free) revenue sources. Digital-born news media are subject to similar pressures to their legacy counterparts. The sector is not characterised by winner-take-all economics, but on establishing lean, sustainable funding models using diverse revenue sources. Organisations continue to balance the risks and opportunities of working with platforms like Facebook and Google. Recent changes to the Facebook algorithm hurt some, but media continue to engage for reach and audience engagement. We find evidence of a flight to quality, with the difficult funding landscape and desire to build paying audiences driving an emphasis on quality rather than clicks. We also find increased interest in connecting with non-traditional audiences
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