Building news savvy: Best practices
Verify, verify, verify
WHAT IS IT?
Verify is community-driven fact-checking. Local television viewers submit assertions they see on social media. Stations look into the claims and air short segments with verified facts. KHOU in Houston, for example, looked at the post ‘’Is the “secret sisters gift exchange’’ a scam?” (it was). Verify also posts relevant source information and documents online with the videos.
WHO’S BEHIND IT?
Tegna launched Verify in 2017 at its television stations in 38 markets. KHOU in Houston piloted the practice, which was a brainchild of a Tegna Innovation Summit and one of a number of initiatives the chain has developed to help its journalism stand out in local markets. Another popular Verify program, Verify Roadshow, takes a question-asker along to help report the answers.
DOES IT WORK?
Tegna Vice President of News Ellen Crooke said Verify segments are proving popular; they attracted 5.8 million page views across the group during the launch period. Viewers are engaged; KHOU in Houston receives roughly 50 Verify requests each week.
HOW TO DO IT
KHOU solicits viewer queries on social media (#KHOUVerify on Twitter, KHOU 11 News on Facebook) and via email. KHOU News Director Sally Ramirez said researchers help, but everyone in the newsroom is involved in fact-checking. The segments, which appear two or three times a week, typically run 1 to 3 minutes and are posted online with the sources. Find more details on the process here.