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JA Resource Q&A: “See the documents that support fact-checks”

December 5, 2012 in Blog, Craft

EconocheckInvestigative Reporters and Editors teamed up with the Sunlight Foundation to create a guide to key national economic databases as a tool to fact-check political claims. Designed for journalists on deadline, useful and accessible to interested citizens, EconoCheck hopes to expand this service built initially for the 2012 election.

Journalism Accelerator

EconoCheck is a collection of economic data covering major issues frequently in the news. It’s designed to give reporters a quick way to understand the context of the data and a direct link to the datasets themselves.

EconoCheck was built with a simple premise: It can be challenging to verify economic claims. So the Sunlight Foundation teamed up with Investigative Reporters and Editors to offer direct links and helpful context to extract accurate information from key national economic datasets.

Data expert and journo prof David Herzog collaborated with Sunlight and IRE to launch EconoCheck for the 2012 election.

In the latest JA Resource Q&A, we talked with Herzog about how to report data effectively and how this tool can be useful outside the immediate demands of an election cycle. Read the rest of this entry →

EconoCheck

October 11, 2012 in Community, Craft, Resources

Economic issues have taken center stage in this year’s elections, as the United States continues to stagger from the effects of recession and the 2008 global banking crisis. Candidates for federal, state and local offices are looking to tap into voter discontent about issues like unemployment, home foreclosures and the government spending.

It can be tough for journalists to make sense out of candidates’ claims. So the Sunlight Foundation and Investigative Reporters and Editors have teamed up to offer this guide to some of the most authoritative economic data sets. We’ll provide an explanation of what the indicators really mean, their weaknesses and how they are created. Also, we’ll point you to the data and documentation so you can explore for yourself.

We trust these resources will help you better cover the key issues of this election.” Source: EconoCheck

A Guide to Effective Fact Checking On-air and Online

October 11, 2012 in Craft, Resources

Drawing on Annenberg Public Policy Center research conducted over a period of more than 20 years, this FlackCheck.org video “Guide to Fact Checking On-Air and Online” shows how to minimize the power of the political ads aired in news reports and increase the effectiveness of ad watches.” Source: FlackCheck.org

Headquartered at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, FlackCheck.org is a video-based counterpart to APPC’s award-winning program FactCheck.org. FlackCheck.org uses parody and humor to debunk false political advertising, poke fun at extreme language, and hold the media accountable for their reporting on political campaigns.” Source: FlackCheck.org: About Us

Conversations for impact: New ethical considerations for political coverage

October 10, 2012 in Blog, Craft

Doug Oplinger presenting at KSU

Akron Beacon Journal managing editor Doug Oplinger says journalists let “too many politicians… shove their own agendas down the pipe.” Credit: Kent State University

Journalism Accelerator

Getting somewhere new. That’s what the four online JA conversations building on the 2012 Poynter/Kent State media ethics workshop are designed to do. Tap into the wisdom of people experienced in ethics, political coverage or both; hear the questions of those fresh to the field; create, informed by these conversations, a crowdsourced best practices guide to political coverage exploring approaches and challenges across the field.

Kent State University journalism professor Jan Leach will lead the creation of that guide in early 2013. Meanwhile, the conversation threads stay open for your input. Outlined below are a number of places where we welcome you to participate! This post highlights key points from discussions on fact-checking and changing the approach to reporting. An earlier distillation covers conversations on managing “access journalism” and the challenges of social media in political coverage. Read the rest of this entry →

Ten hot ethical challenges facing political reporting in 2012

September 28, 2012 in Blog, Craft

Gregory Korte

USA Today reporter Gregory Korte tells the crowd at the 2012 Poynter Kent State Media Ethics Workshop why he sometimes agrees to quote approval. Credit: Kent State University

Journalism Accelerator

“The values of journalism are under pressure.” With that remark, Kelly McBride of The Poynter Institute set the stage for “Dirty Politics,” the 2012 ethics workshop at Kent State University.

Here are ten hot ethical challenges in political coverage that emerged from the workshop. Join in the series of online conversations exploring ways to handle them. Bring your questions! Bring your experience! Help uncover ethical issues in political coverage that require clarity to provide the accurate reporting people deserve to inform their vote. Read the rest of this entry →

Verify U.S. Federal Government Social Media Accounts

August 24, 2012 in Craft, Resources

There are thousands of social media accounts claiming to be associated with the federal government, but how do you know which are real? It’s relatively easy to set up a Twitter account or Facebook profile claiming government connections that aren’t real.

Officials at the General Services Administration want to to aid citizens with a new tool to allow them to find out if a given account is legit.

Available on HowTo.gov, GSA’s Social Media Registry supports more than 20 of the most common social media platforms. Its main purpose is three-fold:

The public will be able to verify that a social media account is run by the government, or spot a fake.

The registry will help manage all these accounts governmentwide by offering application programming interfaces that allow agencies to get data about their agencies.

Finally, the registry serves as a one-stop shop that eliminates the need for different solutions for each agency.

The database is build in Ruby on Rails — an open-source web framework — and officials said the code that powers the registry is open source and available on GitHub. Officials said they teamed with industry partners such as Sunlight Labs, Code for America and Expert Labs to make the registry open and sharable…

Only accounts of official U.S. government agencies, organizations or programs will be tracked by the registry. Government employees will be able to register accounts managed by federal agencies, elected officials, members of the president’s cabinet and heads of agencies. No personal, employee or other types of social media accounts will be included.” Source: Federal Computer Week

Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter

August 24, 2012 in Craft, Resources

PolitiFact is a project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partners to help you find the truth in politics.

Every day, reporters and researchers from PolitiFact and its partner news organization examine statements by members of Congress, state legislators, governors, mayors, the president, cabinet secretaries, lobbyists, people who testify before Congress and anyone else who speaks up in American politics. We research their statements and then rate the accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter – True, Mostly True, Half True, Mostly False and False. The most ridiculous falsehoods get our lowest rating, Pants on Fire…

How the Truth-O-Meter works

The heart of PolitiFact is the Truth-O-Meter, which we use to rate factual claims.

The Truth-O-Meter is based on the concept that – especially in politics – truth is not black and white.
PolitiFact writers and editors spend considerable time researching and deliberating on our rulings. We always try to get the original statement in its full context rather than an edited form that appeared in news stories. We then divide the statement into individual claims that we check separately.

When possible, we go to original sources to verify the claims. We look for original government reports rather than news stories. We interview impartial experts.” Source: PolitiFact

You can now embed part of PolitiFact into your website. Our widgets will put the latest Truth-O-Meter and Obameter rulings on your page. They flex to fit just about any width hole you want them in. Best of all, they update dynamically, so they always contain the latest rulings.” Source: PolitiFact