Module 1: Introduction. Course overview. Data ethics and valid interpretation in an age of misinformation. Originality and veracity of the content in a breaking news situation. An edge in discovering potentially hidden information in photographs and videos to further an investigation.
Module 2: Fundamentals of trust and verification. A look at how journalists have traditionally built trust, and how they have traditionally performed the process of verification. Factors that challenge and change the way VOA and RFE/RL journalists build trust and perform verification today.
Module 3: Finding and cleaning data. The challenges of interpreting data and the impetus on objectivity. Sifting through data for a crystal-clear report. Data integrity. VOA's Polygraph.info and other Western and Moldova media case studies.
Module 4: Verifying/debunking misinformation. How to tell whether a story is real or fake. Best practices of verifying images, video, social media accounts, and websites. Tools to see if a social media profile is fake, establish the originality of a photo or video, locate where and when a photo or video was shot. How to debunk claims using geolocation tools. How to track and analyze social sharing and traffic patterns of content, and how to push back against misinformation.
Module 5: Building trust through transparency and accountability. Best practices of building trust and connection with the public and being transparent about how journalists do their work.
Module 6: Group & individual fact-checking projects. Planning, execution and presentation. Lessons learned. Wrap Up Events. Graduation Ceremony. Program Evaluation. Certificates.
Upon completion of this practicum, journalists will be able to:
Understand the forces and factors affecting how information flows in the digital environment
Analyze social media sharing and web traffic patterns of content
Perform verification of online photos and videos, as well as websites and social media accounts
Use open source software for data mapping to compare or contrast data sets
Sweep widely in order to generate multiple source points for data needed for the story
Utilize transparency and other approaches to build trust with the public.