Facts, Trends and unheard voices — empowering journalists during the upcoming German election

We recently conducted an interview with renowned data designer Moritz Stefaner on his Trends visualization for the upcoming German election. We wanted to take a step back and offer a broader view of all of the News Lab’s activities in the run-up to the election.

At the News Lab, we look at these moments as opportunities to empower journalists with the technology and data they need to keep the communities they serve informed.For the German election on September 24th, our efforts are formed around three key themes: promoting accurate content, offering data that provides helpful context, and surfacing unheard voices.

Guiding all of these efforts is a spirit of experimentation and collaboration with news partners to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities digital reporting presents.

Promoting accurate content

Beginning September 4th, alongside Facebook, we will support First Draft and Correctiv monitor online mis- and disinformation during the German election. First Draft is a coalition of organizations dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information that emerges online. Correctiv is the first nonprofit investigative newsroom in the German-speaking world. Its fact-checking-team started a few months ago and is a member of the International Fact Checking Network.

For the final few weeks before the election, a newly recruited team, named WahlCheck17 (Election Check 17), will work in a pop-up newsroom opened at the Corrective office to verify and fact-check online news stories and conversations in real-time. The team includes fact-checking experts from First Draft and Corrective, experienced students and graduates from the Hamburg Media School, and freelance journalists.

In the same vein as First Draft’s work on CrossCheck in France and our partnership with Full Fact during the UK general election in May, the WahlCheck17 team will alert German newsrooms by publishing a daily newsletter that lists the most popular rumours, manipulated photos and videos, and misleading articles and data visualizations circulating online, and offers additional context on the sources.

Using Trends to offer additional context

Google Trends offers insight into the candidate or parties Google users in Germany are most interested in, and the moments that dominate the election campaign. Our new Google Trends election hub highlights this Search interest in top political issues and parties, with embeddable graphics that surface what people across Germany are most interested throughout the election campaign.

2Q17, a unique data visualisation created by the renowned data designer Moritz Stefaner, depicts queries users in Germany are searching for in relation to the top candidates. This project is part of Google News Lab’s series of visual experiments to develop innovative and interactive storytelling formats to cover important news moments.

Surfacing Unheard Voices

During the French presidential election, the News Lab partnered with a publisher to surface the views of voters across France in 360.

For the German election, we are working with Euronews on a similar 360° storytelling project to surface unheard voices in Germany. In partnership with German regional media outlets, who will provide additional context on the socioeconomic conditions of their respective regions, this journalism project will provide an immersive journey through Germany in the weeks leading up to the election. Watch the first episode starring Masih Rahimi, an Afghan migrant and IT trainee living in Passau.

At the News Lab, we strongly believe in the importance of quality journalism and the power of collaboration between tech and media companies to strengthen it. During elections, this is more important than ever.