Special Series: Teaching Verification

    by Kathleen Bartzen Culver
    October 18, 2016
    (Photo by Flickr user Gregg Tavares and used here under Creative Commons.)

    Accuracy does not equal truth, I tell my students. I can give you a perfectly accurate fact but still leave you with less than the truth.

    I then pick on some unsuspecting kid who has come to class with a water bottle and approach her with “that look” on my face.

    “I see you’re drinking this morning,” I say in a concerned tone.


    “Yes,” she replies.

    “Wow. You’re drinking in class. Do you drink in class a lot?”

    “All the time.”


    I turn to the students, feigning shock. “Did you hear that? She drinks in this class and other classes all the time.”

    Completely accurate. But the impression left is totally untrue. Why?

    Because the accuracy has been stripped from its context. So no, accuracy doesn’t equal truth. Accuracy plus context equals truth.

    In this EdShift series, we’ll dig into fact-checking and verification in search of truth in journalism. Come along for the ride and learn everything from pinocchios to pants-on-fire.

    Series posts

    How the Global Fact-Checking Movement is Changing How We Train Journalists, by Michael Wagner and Lucas Graves

    Coming soon

    Remix: Building a Fact-Checking Class from Scratch, by Michael Wagner

    What We Can All Learn from the Verification Hackathon, by Kathleen Bartzen Culver

    Related stories

    Fact-Checking Political Ads: There are Apps for That, by Kathy Gill

    EdShift Chat: Fact-Checking and Verification for Online Media, by Stacy Forster

    MediaShift Podcast #203: BuzzFeed Splits Into Two; Vice and Disney Pairing Up and Duke’s Bill Adair on the Rise of Fact-Checking

    Fast Fact-Checking and Nonprofit Partnerships, by Reuben Stern

    Verification Handbook Mixes Tools, Tips and Culture for Fact-Checking, by Josh Stearns

    More on fact-checking from EdShift

    Tagged: fact-checking innovation University of Wisconsin - Madison verification
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