In an age when anyone with a mobile phone and an internet connection is a "publisher" Cyberspace and social media have become dangerous swamps of fake news, distortions of facts, hoaxes and political manipulation.
It has also never been simpler to manipulate a photo or video using easy-to-use free tools. This means that fact-checking is more important than ever and it is now essential that all journalists – irrespective of the platform on which they work - know the basics of how to verify online content.
The pursuit of clicks, RTs and shares, has seen journalists who would never dream of handing in a story that has not been properly fact-checked for broadcast or print, rush into publication on social media in the race to be first. Yet getting it wrong can be extremely harmful, both to individuals and to brands, as the fallout from the recent Huffington Post Deprive White Men of the Vote blog debacle illustrated. It could also lead to costly and time-consuming litigation and career-limiting consequences.
And yet media are doing very little to train their journalists in the basics of online verification of pictures, videos and sources, and how to use free fact-checking tools as part of their workflow.
Ask the average journalists if they can do a simple Google reverse image search, or trace where a video came from - and when it was produced - and they haven't a clue, despite these now being essential skills for 21st Century journalists.
The reality is that most journalists who consider themselves "good at" Facebook or Twitter are, in fact, really just good at composing posts or tweets.
The workshop very practical and hands-on and includes:
• How to identify a fake website and the people behind it;
• How to check the identity of someone online;
• How to check the provenance of a picture or video to see whether they are new, being used out of context or have been manipulated;
• How to check whether someone on Twitter is real or not, and how to dig deeply into an account and its history and activity;
• How to find out who first tweeted using a particular hashtag;
• How to use fact-checking tools like Google reverse image search, RevEye, TinEye, Video Vault and other tools to verify photos and videos;
• Useful fact-checking browser extensions and setting up your browser for quick fact-checking;
• How to fact-check content on your smartphone using free tools;
• Some social media journalism, like how to monitor and set up alerts and lists for Twitter and Google to keep abreast of breaking news and also to generate original story ideas
• Searching Facebook
Participants will be given an extensive list of free verification and fact-checking tools, as well as well as useful Twitter and Facebook tools, to take away
Ideally (but not essential) if delegates have their own laptops they should bring them along as setting up their web browser for fact-checking and verification is part of the training.
Participants MUST have a Twitter and Facebook account (and know their passwords) for the training