TV broadcaster Tegna is partnering with First Draft, a non profit that trains journalists and academics to identify false information online to work with editorial staffers in its 49 local newsrooms, part of an effort to bolster the quality of reporting it provides its various audiences.
“As we head into 2020, providing trustworthy news and information remains our highest priority,” said Ellen Crooke, Tegna’s vice president of news, in a prepared statement. “Journalists are trained to search for the truth. Today, they must also be highly skilled at identifying false information and understanding how best to stop the spread of that information. News consumers are demanding transparent, trustworthy content and they want help in deciphering what is real and what is false in their social media feeds.”
Tegna also said it would expand Verify, a fact-checking initiative being undertaken by staffers at its local stations, by adding additional regional fact-checkers to authenticate topics and news submitted by viewers.
Training will begin in mid-January 2020 and includes live simulation events; training and tools for conducting digital investigations; access to a First Draft platform that connects journalists, researchers and community leaders; and a grounding in ethics and principles of reporting disinformation.
“Fewer than 15 percent of U.S. journalists at regional and national publications can verify misinformation online; we’re aiming to increase that number this year,” said Claire Wardle, U.S. director of First Draft, in a statement. “We are thrilled and humbled that Tegna has made a commitment to use First Draft protocols to train every single journalist at its stations across the U.S. We hope more newsrooms can join us for our trainings to ensure as many journalists are prepared for 2020 and beyond.”