united states project

A laurel to FlackCheck.org

For its new guide to video factchecking on air and online
September 14, 2012

The recent journalistic debate about factchecking has prompted some compelling discussion about different strategies, different methods, and what works (e.g., here and here.) But much of that discussion—and we’re as guilty of this as anyone—has focused on factchecking in print, even as most political messaging and a substantial share of news consumption occurs over the airwaves.

So we’re bestowing this week’s laurel on the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FlackCheck.org, which recently released a guide for video factchecking on air and online. You can watch their video tutorial below:

You can also see these principles in action in FlackCheck.org’s annotated presentation of a news segment produced by a Denver TV station here, and find a PDF version of the guide here. The PDF in particular is full of detailed practical guidance—if you’re a reporter, producer, or news director for a TV station, do check it out.

As the factchecking movement inches further into the journalistic mainstream, this is an important moment for reflection. That means, in part, revisiting some core assumptions about the language used by factcheckers—including the very term “factchecking”—and grappling more fully with the limits of this style of reporting. It also means, in part, thinking much more rigorously about which approaches to factchecking are most effective at achieving journalistic goals, and how to spread effective practices across the industry. FlackCheck.org’s tutorial is a welcome contribution to that effort.

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Greg Marx is an associate editor at CJR. Follow him on Twitter @gregamarx.