Faktaassistenten is a Vinnova-funded project led by Södertörn University and involves several Swedish media organizations that are concerned about the future of journalism. The project started in November 2017 with the aim of developing a web application to support fact-checking processes in newsrooms and by doing so, strengthening confidence in the journalistic news production.
By developing the web application (named Fact-check Assistant), the project aims at helping editorial staff find the balance between quick and credible news production for the digital platforms. Stemming from the conviction that credibility is the basic strength of journalism, the project introduces new methods and tools to enhance this credibility by making fact-check processes more robust, effective and professional.
Improving newsroom fact-checking processes
The Fact-check Assistant app is developed based on real needs of the newsroom and in close cooperation with the editors of partner media. Södertörn University’s extensive experience in research on editorial processes, media technology and data journalistic methods are leveraged heavily in this project. It is hoped that the new service offered by Fact-check Assistant will help set a quality standard for what is required in terms of verification in news production for digital platforms, especially in connection to fast and extensive news coverage of breaking news dealing with issues like terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
The project started in late 2017 and early 2018 by evaluating editorial needs in the Swedish newsroom. In late 2018, the project continued by assessing the technical requirements to develop a prototype and carrying out several workshops to journalists and editors representing the partner organizations. During those workshops, fact-check processes for text, video and pictures as well as digital research of sources and media were carried out to help assess the needs of journalists and how the new web application could help address them.
The development phase of the application began in late 2018 and concluded in the end of 2019, during which testing and evaluating of the project’s outcome will take place. Beyond 2019, the tool has become useful for newsrooms beyond those in partnering organisations as well as higher journalism education in the domain of fact-checking.