Webinar series provides tips for journalists fighting misinformation

byCassandra Balfour
Jan 28, 2020 in Fact-Checking and Verification
Person taking webinar

Efforts to combat misinformation today require more resources than ever — at a time when news organizations are already stretched thin. While fact-checking efforts have increased in number and become more sophisticated in recent years, journalists still struggle to keep up with the rampant spread of false and misleading information. 

To bolster their efforts, journalists need to collaborate, while also creating strategic content and engaging with audiences on the popular messaging and social media platforms they’re using — WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, among others.

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), with support from Dow Jones, organized a series of webinars in late 2019 with fact-checking experts around the world to address these challenges. The ICFJ Dow Jones-TruthBuzz webinar series focused on the spread of misinformation on private chat apps, how to turn fact-checks into compelling visuals and tips for collaborating with other newsrooms on fact-checking initiatives.

Below is a round-up of each topic and links to the full webinars. 

A private affair: chat apps and journalism

Chat apps such as WhatsApp and Telegram provide a major challenge for fact-checking organizations. Their closed and private nature makes it difficult for news outlets to see what misinformation is being spread on the platforms, and how. 

India and Brazil are home to the world’s largest communities of WhatsApp users, with more than 400 million users between the two countries. During recent election campaigns, Indian and Brazilian citizens used WhatsApp and other private messaging platforms extensively to spread rumors and false information.

In the series’ first webinar, Tai Nalon, director of Aos Fatos, Brazil’s leading fact-checking platform, joined Shalini Joshi, who works on the TruthBuzz program for the India-based PROTO, a civic media organization that empowers journalists through collaboration and research, to discuss the nature and spread of misinformation through WhatsApp and other messaging networks in their respective countries. 

Watch the full webinar here.

How to turn your fact-checks into social videos

How do you make fact-checking interesting enough that your audience will pay attention? Former ICFJ TruthBuzz Fellows Astudestra Ajengrastri, senior broadcast journalist and social media editor at BBC News Indonesia, and Hannah Ajakaiye, Chevening Scholar at the University of Sussex, found their audiences were more engaged with visuals rather than text-based efforts to counter misinformation. 

In this webinar, Ajengrastri and Ajakaiye use video and graphic tools to enhance fact-checks, and offer concrete tips for how reporters can use them to improve audience engagement. The webinar also included a short demonstration on how to make the most of free tools like Canva and Lumen5 to create strategic content. 

Watch the full webinar here.

How to combine forces to combat misinformation

If a newsroom wants to start a collaborative effort in their country, what are the steps they should take? During the final Dow Jones TruthBuzz webinar, experts Astudestra Ajengrastri and Lilia Zaharia, senior reporter at the Association of Independent Press in Moldova and editorial director of ProFact Moldova, explored collaborative fact-checking projects, providing tips on forming a collaboration, what processes to follow when working together, and how to overcome challenges that may arise when multiple stakeholders are involved. 

Watch the full webinar here.


ICFJ’s TruthBuzz program is supported by a grant from Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

Main image CC-licensed by Unsplash via Jacqueline Kelly