Journalism in times of fake news

How does the STERN editorial team meet the challenge of fake news every day? At this years’ Social Media Week in Hamburg, Swen Thissen - Head of Social Media at STERN Digital – explained STERN’s approach.

Using tools

STERN Digital has more than 100 methods and tools at hand to detect fake news. Of course the source itself (well-known vs. unknown, brand new, real followers or fake) plays a crucial role in the evaluation. If the source is unknown, the fact-checking becomes more relevant. Two favourite sources to check: weather and map data. Could the image/video have been created on that particular day (sunny, rain …) and at that particular location (analysing the shade). Often small details give fake news away.

Joint forces "Verification Team"

Together with "RTL" and "NTV", STERN has formed a verification team representing the three media houses and centrally located at Bertelsmann. The team works with more than 100 fact-checking colleagues. "The close collaboration and exchange of research outcomes lead to quick results, even under time pressure," says Thissen.

The STERN approach

Eye to eye with the reader. Thissen explains: "At STERN Digital, we clearly state: what do we know from where, how secure is the information, how did we check, and what do we NOT yet know?"

Helping the reader to discover what’s fake. In their new video section "Fake or No Fake" STERN editors demonstrate how they found out that a certain news item was fake.

STERN’s core approach: Quality over speed. Always, and in every situation. "We only publish a text when we know that the facts are correct.  And we are certain that in the long term, our approach will pay off."

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