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Newsonomics: What was once unthinkable is quickly becoming reality in the destruction of local news
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July 30, 2013, 1:34 p.m.

When there’s a lot of innovation going on around a particular issue, it can be hard to keep track of who has already tried what, when, and how it went. One major trend unfolding right now is experimentation around fact-checking; there are dozens of startups, open source projects, and collaborations looking at how we can cheaply, quickly, and accurately figure out if something published on the web is true or not.

Josh Stearns, a self-professed “verification junky,” works for Free Press, an organization that supports journalism in the public interest. Today, he launched an online “directory of tools for verifying, fact checking and assessing the validity of social media and user generated content.”

Verification and misinformation isn’t one problem but two: 1) preventing errors and 2) correcting errors and limiting their spread. As such, we need a range of responses including, but not limited to: training, shifts in norms, new tools, better processes and forms of accountability. And, critically, these ideas and debates cannot stop at the newsroom, but must also engage the public, readers, and audiences who are active and critical participants in the networked journalism.

Verification Junkie is one contribution to that work. I hope you enjoy it.

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