Graham Media Group strengthens newsrooms in fight against misinformation

WJXT to show viewers, readers process behind newsgathering, fact-checking

Trust Index

Graham Media Group has announced the launch of Trust Index, a new initiative to combat misinformation campaigns targeting local media.

“Nothing is more important than getting the story right,” said Emily Barr, president and CEO of GMG. “We are providing timely training and processes to our six newsrooms to help in the fight against misinformation campaigns attacking local news.”

Graham Media Group is partnering with Fathm, a global leader in the fight against misinformation, in the effort.

Fergus Bell, Fathm’s founder and CEO, is working with newsroom leadership to evolve a verification system and to train journalists to identify and stop the spread of misinformation.

“It is fantastic to be working with an organization like Graham Media Group, which is putting a high-priority focus on such an important initiative,” Bell said. “I am looking forward to preparing all of their news teams to fight misinformation in a way that is certain to benefit audiences and contribute to a healthier media ecosystem in 2020.”

Graham Media Group’s Trust Index is designed to:

  • Identify manipulated or out-of-context user-generated content
  • Detect fake stories generated for revenue or political motives
  • Expose political ads served algorithmically with little oversight
  • Support transparency in the newsroom
  • Reinforce journalistic ethics
  • Counteract misinformation with incisive reporting and social posts
  • Encourage viewers and users to share questionable content for review by station journalists

Bell led the first round of training at WDIV in Detroit in January.

Later this year, Bell will complete newsroom training sessions for all Graham Media Group stations, including at News4Jax in Jacksonville.

Misinformation and disinformation campaigns are not limited to national politics.

Increasingly, the industry is seeing coordinated campaigns designed to trick local newsrooms into reporting false or misleading stories. While GMG stations work to build defenses for reporting on the 2020 elections, a strong verification system will enhance the company’s newsrooms overall.

“Fact-checking is in the DNA of this company but advancements in technology are disrupting truth," Barr said. “We are committed to providing our communities information that they can trust.”