News Verification Guide

In 2017, the Centre for Media Studies at SSE Riga has published the news verification guide for journalists prepared by Tom Trewinnard. This publication was supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

The rise of camera-enabled smartphones and high-speed mobile data services has led to a proliferation of photo and video contentbeing shared via social networks. It is now often the case that for an international, breaking news story, the first reports, videos and photo to emerge will come via social media.

This is both a great opportunity and challenge for journalists: we have access to first-hand footage from around the world of breaking news events, and so are able to cover stories that we otherwise couldn’t report on. At the same time, social networks are contested spaces that are often awash with fake and mis-contextualized content designed to mislead and confuse.

If journalists are to benefit from sourcing content via social media, we need to take care to carry out a series of steps to establish the credibility of a photo, video or source.

This guide is designed as a series of checklists to help you find answers to key questions about content you’re investigating online.


About the Author
Tom Trewinnard (USA) is the Program Manager at Meedan, a social technology non-profit working on the Checkdesk project to develop collaborative verification tools and open training curricula. He leads Meedan’s participation in the First Draft Coalition, a group of thought leaders and pioneers in social media journalism launched by Google News Lab in 2015.

Tom has moderated panels on digital journalism at Personal Democracy Forum and the Prix Italia, and convened a daylong pre-conference workshop for MENA-region journalists and digital rights activists at the Stockholm Internet Forum 2015.

Tom has worked extensively with journalists in some of the Middle East and Europe's leading newsrooms, as well as with citizen journalists from around the world, to research eyewitness media and lead training in verification skills. Tom curates the verification and viral debunk newsletter The Checklist.

News Verification Guide in Latvian

1.36 MB, pdf

News Verification Guide in Estonian

1.33 MB, pdf

News Verification Guide in Russian

1.37 MB, pdf

News Verification Guide in English

1.32 MB, pdf

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For additional information
please contact:

Programme Manager
Sabīne Sīle-Eglīte
sabine.sile@sseriga.edu