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Fact-checking and the Truth-O-Meter

World News Publishing Focus

World News Publishing Focus
Your Guide to the Changing Media Landscape

Fact-checking and the Truth-O-Meter

“Fifteen years into the Internet age and we are still publishing stories the way we published them a 100 years ago,” says Adair, “just pasting on the web.”

Broadcast is approaching the web in the same way, according to Adair. “Just putting them up in pixels. There's a tremendous lack of imagination on how we can take advantage of these new technologies.”

In August 2007, the St. Petersburg Times, Florida, USA, launched Politifact to combine traditional things and one semi-new platform to create something new: fact-checking as a new kind of story published online.

The project is a campaign tracker that tells readers whether statements and promises made by politicians are true or not. Each statement is assigned a “Truth-O-Meter” rating which ranges from “true,” to “false,” to “pants on fire.”

There's also a special Obameter, which has so far tracked 508 of President Obama's campaign pledges and a GOP Pledge-O-Meter for the upcoming election. So far, it's also been rolled out in nine states and local journalists and editors have been trained to track state-level politicians.

Adair says that many news publications are held hostage by their technology.

“We decided to build a content management system (CMS) from scratch rather than to build onto our existing CMS,” he says. “Many of us in newspapers are slave to our current CMS, which is slave to how we're publishing. And we have to think beyond that.”


Alexandra Waldhorn


2011-10-15 16:28

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The 71st World News Media Congress, the 26th World Editors Forum and the 3rd Women in News Summit took place from 1 - 3 June 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

In this blog, WAN-IFRA provides previews, interviews, summaries of the presentations and other useful information about the Congress.

Participants were also very active on Twitter throughout the event under the hashtag #wnmc19.

In 2011 the newspaper world gathered in Vienna, Austria for IFRA Expo 2011, 63rd World Newspaper Congress and 18th World Editors Forum.

This is the event's live blog.

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