- To help students avoid the most common errors and improve the accuracy of their reporting
- Know where to check for information
- Make them aware of confirmation bias, and how to challenge your assumptions
- Give them a roadmap for the fact-checking process
- Help students create a ritual for fact-checking their own reporting
- Your assignment will be to fact check a colleague’s article
OVERVIEW & PURPOSE
As a journalist skepticism is your job. As a citizen skepticism is a survival skill. Challenge your assumptions.
This lesson will emphasize that “journalism is a discipline of verification.” – From The elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect.
It is because “journalism is a discipline of verification,” that journalists consider the commitment to verification and accuracy a “strategic ritual” and part of their “professional identity,” which is “something that legitimizes a journalist’s social role as being demonstrably different from other communicators.” A devotion to accuracy is the value that journalists add to issues and stories in the information ecosystem. – Barbara Gray, Newmark J-School, from the The Emerald Handbook of Modern Information Management, p 421.
 Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2014). The elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect. New York: Three Rivers Press. 98.  Shapiro, I., Brin, C., Bédard-Brûlé, I., & Mychajlowycz, K. (2013). Verification as a Strategic Ritual: How journalists retrospectively describe processes for ensuring accuracy. Journalism Practice, 7(6), 657-673. 669.
NOTE: It is best to hold this class and give this assignment later in the semester when students have more in-depth stories to fact check.