It seems that everywhere we look, information and misinformation about the coronavirus are swirling around, commingling and confusing those around us. And it’s happening as we must depend on facts to keep us safe and get us through this crisis.
Four years ago, Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network dubbed April 2 as International Fact-Checking Day. This designation is intended to raise awareness of the importance of fact-checking in the modern era of misinformation, and to encourage timely access to public data.
Flash forward to today, when the coronavirus pandemic has sparked its own misinformation monster. The World Health Organization has deemed this threat an “infodemic” because misinformation surrounding COVID-19 is a threat to public health.
That’s why this year, we’re celebrating facts and the work of fact-checkers globally more than ever before. Today is a day to equip journalists, professional fact-checkers, educators and citizens with resources to find facts and stamp out misinformation.
The premise is simple: We believe that fact-checking isn’t only for professional fact-checkers. Society relies on an accurate information ecosystem for democracies to thrive. We all play a role in curbing the spread of misinformation. It’s never been more vital to become part of the solution.
Take advantage of International Fact-Checking Day resources and join the quest for the truth.
Here’s how you can make the most of it.
If you’re a teacher:
- Connect with fact-checkers through an interactive EduCheckMap.
- Download a gamified lesson plan in four languages at factcheckingday.com.
- Discover 200 ways to teach about fact-checking.
- Have your students take the quiz to guess the fakes.
- Follow (and encourage middle and high school students to follow) MediaWise on Instagram and watch our Teen Fact-Checking Network in action.
- Integrate the MediaWise partner, Stanford University History Education Group’s Civic Online Reasoning curriculum, in your classroom.
- Add the MediaWise project’s Navigating Digital Information Crash Course, hosted by John Green, or Poynter’s Hands-on Fact-Checking Short Course to your online teaching plan.
- Schedule the MediaWise Voter Project Campus Correspondents for virtual college classroom training.
- Bring Poynter experts to your classroom — we’re doing virtual drop-ins these days.
If you’re a student:
- Follow MediaWise on Instagram and TikTok.
- Use #IsThisLegit to tag posts you think might be misinformation and the MediaWise team will help you figure it out. Or DM @MediaWise across platforms.
- Watch and share this video to see how you can join John Green, Ingrid Nilsen, Tyler Oakley and friends to stop the spread of misinformation.
- Check out five coronavirus fact-checks from our Teen Fact-Checking Network.
- Keep an eye out for opportunities to join the MediaWise teen fact-checking network.
- Subscribe to Coronavirus Facts, a daily newsletter from MediaWise and PolitiFact, so you stay on top of what’s really happening with the pandemic.
- Prepare to vote for the first time by following our MediaWise Voter Project Campus Correspondents on TikTok and Instagram.
If you’re a journalist or professional fact-checker:
- Explore and republish debunked misinformation from the CoronavirusFacts Alliance database
- Tag your fact-checks with #factcheckingday.
- Check out the CoronavirusFacts Alliance work and resources.
- Subscribe to the IFCN’s weekly newsletter, Factually.
- Contact us to source our fact-checking experts in your reporting.
- Attend a 30-minute real-time Q&A session April 16 dedicated to data and fact-checking.
- Bring Poynter experts to your newsroom for virtual training sessions, coaching calls, guidance in updating your ethics policies/practices and more.
If you’re a news consumer:
- Watch and share this video to see how you can join Lester Holt, John Green, Hari Sreenivasan and friends to stop the spread of misinformation.
- Get to know our colleague — the woman leading the fight against coronavirus misinformation online.
- Meet the fact-checkers in the CoronavirusFacts Alliance, keeping you safe and informed throughout the crisis.
- Check out debunked misinformation from the CoronavirusFacts Alliance database
- Hold politicians accountable by following PolitiFact’s coronavirus scorecard.
- Polish your skills through our Hands-on Fact-Checking Short Course.
- Use the hashtag #IsThisLegit if you want the MediaWise teen fact-checking network to research the accuracy of posts on social media.
- Participate in an AMA with PolitiFact on Reddit at noon Eastern on April 2.
If you’re a fan:
- Make a donation to Poynter to support our work elevating journalism and fact-based expression.
- Stand up for the facts — become a PolitiFact member and receive your Pants on Fire sticker.
- Connect with us if you’re interested in funding fact-checking programs.
Poynter is the fact-checking capital of the world and this work has never been more relevant. Our fact-checking enterprises include the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, holding politicians accountable for the claims they make; MediaWise, a program aimed at helping teenagers and first-time voters tell fact from fiction online and in their social feeds; and the International Fact-Checking Network, which debunks thousands of pieces of misinformation around the coronavirus.
And through the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership at Poynter, we consult with newsrooms to navigate tricky ethical decisions posed by crisis coverage and help citizens better understand the process of the journalism they are relying upon to stay healthy.
Even with all of this dedicated effort toward the fight against misinformation, there’s more work to be done.
It’s up to us, together, to find more facts and stop the spread of misinformation.
Tina Dyakon is Poynter’s director of marketing. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.