It's not easy to do, it can be expensive and time-consuming. It's hard to find traditional media doing much of it. Recently, one cable-based news operation made news when they actually did a little.
The folks at NewsTrust.net recently experimented with citizen-based fact-checking, reported at PBS MediaShift:
Truthsquad.com features controversial quotes from politicians or pundits and asks the community whether they think they are true or false. Community members are welcome to make a first guess, then check our answers and research links to see if they are correct. They can change their answer anytime, as they come across new facts.
Our first test project was by our standards a success; more importantly, it revealed several important lessons about the best ways to manage crowdsourced fact-checking, and about why people participate in this activity. Here are our key takeaways from this first pilot …:
- A game-like experience makes fact-checking more engaging.
- A professional-amateur (pro-am) collaboration delivers reliable results and a civil conversation.
- Crowd contributions are limited, requiring editorial oversight and better rewards.
- Community fact-checking fills a gap between traditional journalism and social media.
We need a lot more of this, and a number of groups are working on what's next …