According to a survey by the market research company Ipsos, four out of five Turkish citizens have encountered Fake News at least once. Interestingly, most blame the print media for the spread of Fake News and has a relatively high trust in the social media. This is surprising because most Fake News actually originate in the social networks.
Since 2014, the organization Doğruluk Payı is fighting Fake News via fact-checking. The focus lies on Turkish news on the economy, politics and social issues. So far, the group has done more than 1.400 fact checks and reached well over four million people in all parts of Turkey.
To transfer their know-how and train new fact checkers, Doğruluk Payı in 2019 has organized fact-checking workshops in Istanbul, Ankara, Bursa, Antalya, Edirne and Izmir with the support of FNF Turkey. “Our aim is to reach and interact with university students who want to learn and practice the fact-checking methodology and also support Doğruluk Payı efforts” says Batuhan Ersun who was involved in organizing the series.
During the workshops, senior editors introduce the history, process and implementation of the fact-checking concept. Doğruluk Payı wants the participants to understand the principles of fact-checking. The team of trainers practices fact-checking together with the participants on the basis of prepared samples. In the hands-on-exercises, participants learn how to conduct fact-checking research, how to handle specific news and how to draft reports.
„Often, participants are astonished to see wrong allegations from politicians of whom they would not expect this”, says Batuhan Ersun.
A strong network
Most participants are familiar with the concept of “fact-checking” before attending the workshops because they follow Doğruluk Payı. Still, the first-hand experience and the meeting with other defenders of “true news”, promotes a motivational environment, say the organizers. The face-to-face interactions and the friendly atmosphere at the events help build a strong and close network with the potential future fact-checkers.
After the workshop, participants who wish to get involved with fact-checking analyses or prepare bulletins on different subjects as volunteers can apply to Doğruluk Payı. The organization registers them in an editor pool and provides daily claims which the new colleagues may want to prepare a fact-checking analysis about. Before publication of all reports on the Doğruluk Payı channels, professional editors revise the content meticulously. The rule is: learning by doing. On the long run and with sufficient experience, the volunteer editors have the chance to advance to the professional team.
In that sense, the workshops are a great opportunity both for Doğruluk Payı and for young volunteers while the organization recruits new members, the participants receive training and experience, which may also help them in their professional career.