Verify This Week (8/2014)
Every week, we provide interesting links from around the web that discuss issues regarding the verification processes of content from social media. Here is our list for this week.
Verifying Video Using Geolocation Information and other Techniques
The importance of verifying content from Social Media once again becomes obvious when looking at the situation in Crimea, after Russian troops moved in on the peninsula that belongs to Ukraine. Storyful, whom we have referred to a number of times before in this column, outlines how posted video images can be checked using geolocation information, among others. The prime task of Storyful’s journalists, as posted on the Storyful blog, is to always “… answer three questions about every video: source, date, and location“.
Source: Storyful Blog
As we just talked about using geolocation services in the verification process: consider checking out Social Media location services like Geofeedia and Ban.jo. Both services can aid in establishing the location, e.g. from which area an image was uploaded, using the GPS data from mobile devices. A drawback at present: they currently capture only a small percentage of uploaded content from a given location. Other very useful location services are Google Maps (this one probably being the most commonly used location service), Bing Maps or Wikimapia.
Sources: Geofeedia, Ban.jo, Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Wikimapia.
Different Journalistic Approaches to Content Verification
Here is an interesting read of a post by Craig Silverman, who looks at different techniques used by journalists for verifying content. He cites a paper entitled “Verification as a Strategic Ritual“, in which the authors conclude that there is “considerable diversity in verification strategies, at times mirroring social scientific methods (source triangulation, analysis of primary data sources or official documents, semi-participant observation), and different degrees of reflexivity or critical awareness of journalists’ own blind spots and limitations.” While verification, in principle, is seen as an essential part of journalistic work, methods deployed vary significantly, the findings suggest.
Source: Poynter and Journalism Practice, Vol. 7, Issue 6, 2013
How they do it! – Speed versus Accuracy
In this post by Abigail Edge on journalism.co.uk (referring to an event of the Online News Assocation UK of late February 2014), editors from the BBC, Reuters and Associated Press outline the interplay between “being fast and first” and accuracy and verification. To sum up: while speed certainly matters, especially in breaking news, getting it right is usually considered of higher importance, at least by many “traditional” media outlets. The reason being that something important is at stake: trust of the audience. However, not all media organisations see it that way – as the article makes clear.
Being First versus being Fast(est) – Who Cares?
The cover story of the Columbia Journalism Review by Marc Fisher, dated 3 March 2014, also picks up on the topic of speed versus accuracy. It sheds a very illuminating light on different approaches in news journalism: Fisher juxtaposes the working practices of established (some may call them “old school”) media organisations, who put great efforts in the verification of content from Social Networks before it is published, with the approach of newer outlets such as Buzzfeed who, at times, opt for being fast (or the fastest) without cross-checking – all at the possible expense of accurary.
Source: Columbia Journalism Review
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