Journalism, fake news and disinformation: equipping journalism for the fightback
The targeting of journalists and news organisations – by states, populist politicians and deceptive corporate actors – makes fighting back against disinformation, misinformation and ‘malinformation’ a critical mission for journalism in 2019. But how can that best be achieved? What new knowledge, skills and tools do journalists and news publishers need to tackle the scourge of ‘information disorder’?
Leading international experts have worked with the UN to publish a new handbook to help guide journalists in the fightback. Journalism, F*ke News & Disinformation was commissioned by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the context of technology-enabled disinformation campaigns in which journalists and journalism have also become targets. The handbook is designed to strengthen journalism’s defences against disinformation, going beyond fact-checking and debunking to address ways journalists can avoid being sucked in by digital fakery.
This workshop will bring together the guide’s lead authors and journalists on the frontline of the fightback in India and the Philippines. We’ll walk you through some of the lessons in the handbook, focusing on the new digital literacies, investigative techniques and storytelling methods required to combat and report on disinformation. What does it take to dig into the stories behind disinformation and follow the often-hidden digital trails of duplicitous information circulated by states, populist politicians, corporate actors and others? When purveyors of toxic information turn on journalists – deliberately smearing them and subjecting them to threats of violence – what can be done to hold the line? Part of this mission involves helping the public differentiate between diverse legitimate narratives in journalism on the one hand, and an avalanche of defective, deceptive content on the other. How can we work collaboratively on that challenge?
The handbook is free to download here. You can read about the project’s goals here in this September 2018 Nieman Lab article.