A publication of the World Editors Forum


Thu - 29.01.2015


The Internet is a vast mine of information; the problem is, not all of it is accurate. For journalists, accuracy is everything. The question of proving the authenticity of journalistic material is a seemingly an ever-increasing burden.

There has been much debate about which system for verifying social media reports is the most effective - is tweet first, ask questions later the best policy? ITV News recently fell foul of this tendency to immediately share information without authentication when it broadcast a piece of footage from a videogame believing it to be an IRA video.

The problem of verification of information is not simply a problem for journalists, though. The satirical news network The Onion recently posted a series of tweets claiming the US Congress had taken school children hostage for the sum of $12 Trillion. This caused confusion, uncertainty and outrage from some who felt the comedy group had gone a little too far. Of course, The Onion only ever publishes satire, but the confusion and the irate reactions to such material are quickly amplified and disseminated via the web.


Katherine Travers


2011-09-30 17:20

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