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With support from:

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This resource page features course content from the Knight Center for Journalism in the America's massive open online course (MOOC) titled "Navigating Misinformation: How to identify and verify what you see on the web." The four-week course took place from March 25 to April 21, 2019. We are now making most of the content free and available to students who took the course and anyone else who is interested in learning how to verify online content and responsible reporting in an age of disinformation.


The course, which was supported by the Knight Foundation, was taught by Claire Wardle and her assistant Aimee Rinehart. They created and curated the content for the course, which includes video classes, readings, exercises, and more.


The course materials are broken up into three modules:


As you review this resource page, we encourage you to watch the videos, review the readings, and complete the exercises as time allows. The course materials build off each other, but the videos and readings also act as standalone resources that you can return to over time.


We hope you enjoy the materials. If you have any questions, please contact us at knightcenter@austin.utexas.edu.



About the Instructor



Claire Wardle's headshot

Claire Wardle leads the strategic direction and research for First Draft and is the co-founder of one of First Draft’s founding partners, Eyewitness Media Hub. She is also currently a TED fellow. Before First Draft, she was the research director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She was also head of social media for the United Nations Refugee Agency and Director of News Services for Storyful. She is one of the world’s experts on user-generated content, and has led substantial research projects—with an emphasis on qualitative research methodologies—investigating how UGC is handled by news organizations. She was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Information and Entertainment. She holds a PhD in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania.


Claire Wardle's headshot

Aimee Rinehart directs partnerships and development for First Draft, where she has worked since 2016. She managed Comprova, the Brazilian election project in 2018, which was the first journalism organization to have API access to WhatsApp. She started working online in 1996 and was a digital originator at The New York Times. She was an editor at the Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels and upon her return to New York, worked in the communications departments at the American Civil Liberties Union, the Overseas Press Club of America and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She graduated from Indiana University School of Journalism and has an MFA in creative writing from Rutgers-Newark University.





Discovery of problematic content

This module will cover:

  • How to use the free monitoring platforms CrowdTangle and TweetDeck
  • Tipping point of when to report on, or amplify, a piece of content
  • How mis- and disinformation flow through the web

Video Classes

1. Discovery: finding problematic content online

Watch Video Transcript

2. How to use TweetDeck for discovery

Watch Video Transcript

3. A deep dive into CrowdTangle for discovery

Watch Video Transcript



Readings






Basic verification of online sources

This module will cover:

  • The verification process
  • Scrapes, metadata and reverse image search
  • Free browser plugins to help in verification
  • Digital footprints: finding people online

Video Classes

1. Intro to verification as process

Watch Video Transcript

2. The challenge of dealing with scrapes

Watch Video Transcript

3. Intro to reverse image search

Watch Video Transcript

4. First Draft checklists

Watch Video Transcript

5. How to find a post's unique identification code

Watch Video Transcript

6. Metadata explained & why you can't always trust location metadata

Watch Video Transcript

7. How to research digital footprints

Watch Video Transcript

8. Learning date and time stamps

Watch Video Transcript


Readings

1. How should I contact a social source? [Approaching Social Sources, Chapter 1]

2. Verification fundamentals: Rules to live by [Verification Handbook, Chapter 2]

3. Verifying user-generated content [Verification Handbook, Chapter 3]


Optional Resources

1. Verifying images [Verification Handbook, Chapter 4]

2. Verifying video [Verification Handbook, Chapter 5]

3. Do I have to get permission before I can use eyewitness media? [Approaching Social Sources, Chapter 3]

4. How should I contact eyewitnesses when I need to gain permission to use their media? [Approaching Social Sources, Chapter 4]





Advanced verification of online sources

This module will cover:

  • How date and time stamps work on social posts
  • How to geo-locate where a photo or video was taken
  • Tools overview to help determine time in a photo or video
  • Verification challenge

Video Classes

1. Using Wolfram Alpha

Watch Video Transcript

2. A quick introduction to shadow analysis

Watch Video Transcript

3. Understanding geo-location

Watch Video Transcript

4. Advanced Google maps tricks

Watch Video Transcript

5. Google Earth Pro basics

Watch Video Transcript


Readings


Exercises

Try your hand at these verification interactive exercises:






Algorithmic Accountability & Transparency


Module 4 covers how algorithms are creating a new object for journalistic investigation, which is giving rise to a specialized practice called algorithmic accountability reporting. The instructor will detail what methods you can use to investigate algorithms on this beat, and how you can be more responsible with the algorithms you might incorporate into your newswork.


This module will cover:

  • Why investigating algorithms in society is important for journalism
  • How to approach investigation of algorithms using different methods
  • How to be transparent with your own use of algorithms in newswork

  • Video Class

    1. The algorithms beat

    Watch Video Transcript

    2. Algorithmic accountability reporting methods

    Watch Video Transcript

    3. Editorial responsibility & algorithmic transparency

    Watch Video Transcript

    4. News Algorithm guest speaker Christina Elmer, Der Spiegel

    Watch Video Transcript


    Readings