I came across a news article titled Has the Border Wall Begun, and this article mentioned that president Donald Trump declared that the construction of the wall between the United States and Mexico has began. This article included a picture that was described as an image of the construction of the Border wall. Therefore, I wanted to verify and check both the article and the image that was included as well. I used politifact.com to verify both the article and the image that has been used. The used image on this article has been tweeted by Donald Trump, and he stated that the image as “great briefing this afternoon on the start of our southern border wall!”. Politifact.com mentioned that this article is mostly false, and it mentioned that there are undergoing projects to replace fencing but that doesn’t include any constructions for the border wall supported by the Donald Trump administration. “There are projects underway along parts of the border to improve or replace fencing, but none of that includes any of the eight border wall prototypes ordered by the Trump administration.” (Valverde, 2018). Also, the image that Donald Trump tweeted isn’t for the border wall construction as he mention; rather, the image was for the construction to improve the fencing.
They are always coming up with new verification tools due to technology advancing every day. You are probably using verification tools daily and don’t even realize. Facebook can be a verification tool if you are using it to learn information on someone. There are tools to see if you are reading fake news?
The verification tool I researched is area code locator.
It helps you pinpoint states and cities that use a certain area code. Area codes are important. If you don’t have the correct area code you will not be connected to the correct person. It shows how many people are using that area code, usage, and the carriers.
In my first data story I wrote about how different data collection agencies calculate the graduation rates of certain colleges. Specifically I focused on The National Student Clearinghouse and Third Way. Because the story was about the graduation rates I actually didn’t have to verify the graduation rates of schools or states.
The data I did have to verify were the numbers I used to calculate……. I had to verify numbers like the total student population of schools, the percent of students who were undergraduate, and other volumetrics relating to those colleges in the study. These numbers were used to gain a better understanding of the colleges and students in the data story.
The way that most of my data was verified was actually a fairly simple process. I visited the web pages of the colleges in question and searched for the relevant data. One of the easiest was U of M – Ann Arbor, which had many data points right in their admissions site.
Being able to verify an image is crucial in journalism. If an image isn’t verified, it could create misunderstanding between what’s written and the image. On the Verification Handbook, there are ways to prevent these misunderstandings. They are:
- Establish the author/originator
- Corroborate the location, date, and time
- Confirm the image is what it is labeled
- Obtain permission from the author/originator to use the image
Being able to know exactly who posted the image first will verify if the image is exactly what is meant to be. Also, when you confirm that the image is what it is, you can double check by using Google Map or Bing Maps to make sure that’s the exact location. Another tool could be checking weather of when the image was taken. Geofeedia is another tool that can be used to check social media post with geographic location. If the image that you want can’t be used, you can ask the author/originator for their permission.
With these ways, we can make sure to double check the images before using them. It is simple to take an image off Google and use it for something else.
Verification is essential in journalism. Verification is the process of checking facts to determine if they are accurate or not. Journalists need to set verification on the top of their revision-to-do-list because it is not only a large part of ethics but it is also a large part of their careers.
It takes a lot to build a journalist’s credibility but it only takes one false statement to destroy it too. The audience must learn to trust this writer, from the first story they write to their 100th one. When you lose the trust you had between and your readers, it deteriorates your credibility.
This can happen when you don’t verify facts in your story. Verification before it all takes place sounds pretty good then, right?
My data story on post graduate success covering multiple colleges and alumni’s salaries had verification behind it. For example, “University of Pennsylvania are close behind in which alumni are earning more than $163,000,” is an important fact I brought up in my story because it allows comparison of Ivy League graduates to regular university graduates. In order to include this fact in my story, I had to make sure that multiple sources were stating the same information. As you could probably tell, it was a fact that was supported by more than one reliable source so I added it in.
Got facts? Because with verification you will make sure you do!