Maligned gay marriage study: The far-reaching lessons for journalists

A now notorious study on same-sex marriage underscores a frequent newsroom reality: Political polling or a piece of academic research arrives and is by and large blindly passed along to readers, viewers and listeners. If it’s seemingly headline grabbing, like the derided study on whether gay canvassers could change voters' views in fundamental ways, the “news” value rises. And … Read More

Amnesty International launches video verification tool, website

Amnesty International is in the verification game and that is good news for journalism. When journalists monitor and search social networks, they’re looking to discover and verify newsworthy content. Amnesty utilizes the same networks and content — but their goal is to gather and substantiate evidence of human rights abuses. “Verification and corroboration was always a key component of human … Read More

Mobile trends to watch in second half of 2014; plus, a newsgathering guide to Tweetdeck

Here's our roundup of the top digital and social media stories you should know about (and from Andrew Beaujon, 10 media stories to start your day, and from Kristen Hare, a world roundup): — At Poynter, Adam Hochberg explores in depth Gannett's three-year CMS overhaul to "replace the existing systems and serve every Gannett newsroom – from … Read More

Announcing the release of the free Verification Handbook

A little over a year ago, I suggested to colleagues at Poynter that I write an e-book about verification. It seemed to me an essential project, but also a reflection of the shift I've experienced in my focus for Regret the Error. When I first launched this blog as a standalone site in 2004, I was primarily finding and publishing corrections. Over time, I began to look at errors — their cause, prevalence and effect. In the past three years, perhaps in part due to the spread of social media, smartphones and viral news, I've found myself more and more focused on verification. With so much misinformation flowing fast and freely, and the ability for anyone to easily shoot, share and/or manipulate images and video, the skills of verification have never been more important. Yet it's not taught on an ongoing basis in most newsrooms. And it's not just journalists who need the skills and knowledge to sift real from fake — this is a basic, essential skill of news literacy. We all need it. It's about cultivating a mindset to question and scratch away at the surface of what we see, hear and read. Today, I'm proud to announce the publication of the free Verification Handbook. It provides news organizations and others with detailed and valuable guidance for verifying information. It's live today as a website and we will soon release the handbook as a PDF and Kindle book, along with an Arabic translation. (More languages will follow, along with a print edition.) Sign up at the website to be notified when the other versions are released. Read More

'Let Me Tweet That For You' site raises concerns for journalists

This tweet looks pretty real, doesn't it? It's not, though. I faked that tweet using a Web service named "Let Me Tweet That For You." It's pretty simple -- you type in a Twitter username and a message, and it generates a realistic-looking image of a tweet from that person. It even adds fake retweet and favorite counts to lend some more credibility. The site is a project of OKFocus, a New York-based marketing agency. It's actually about a year old, but has been somehow rediscovered this week and is really taking off on Twitter. Read More