If there were ever any doubt about the importance of eyewitness media in the news landscape, this summer has provided plenty of proof that everyday citizens are playing an increasingly prominent role in the newsgathering process. From the terrorist attack in Nice and an attempted coup in Turkey to a spate of police-involved shootings in the U.S., newsrooms around the world have been using content posted to social media to inform their reporting.
But because anyone with a smart phone and an internet connection can bear witness to events unfolding before them, newsrooms need shared best practices around verification, since we’ve seen what can happen when it isn’t done properly. That’s why in June of last year, we announced the First Draft Coalition, bringing together a group of thought leaders and pioneers in social media journalism — Bellingcat, Dig Deeper Media, Emergent, Storyful, Reportedly, Meedan, Verification Junkie and Eyewitness Media Hub — to create educational resources on how to approach and verify eyewitness media, and how to consider the ethics of using it in news reporting.
In just one year, First Draft accomplished a tremendous amount, demonstrating the strong demand inside of newsrooms for shared ethics and training around verification. Some highlights include:
- Launching firstdraftnews.com, a site dedicated to publishing articles, case studies and training resources and a First Draft Medium publication
- Delivering training and presentations in newsrooms and conferences worldwide, training more than 1000 journalists around the world
- Publishing a Visual Verification Guide for Photos and Videos
- Co-producing a TechRaking conference on verification in partnership with the Center for Investigative Reporting and the MIT Media Lab
- Launching #First Draft Live, an ongoing series of verification workshops hosted by global newsrooms and broadcast live online (partnering with The Guardian, New York Times, AJ+ and ABC Australia)
And today, just over a year after its creation, we’re excited to announce the expansion of the First Draft Coalition, with the launch of a new partner network, including major news and technology organizations.
We’re proud to welcome Facebook and Twitter into the network, as well as newsrooms around the world, including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, CNN, ABC News (Australia), AJ+, ProPublica, Agence France-Presse, Channel 4 News, The Telegraph, France Info, Breaking News, Les Décodeurs, International Business Times UK, Eurovision News Exchange, SAM, Aljazeera Media Network, Reveal project, InVID project, Euronews, Sourcefabric, WITNESS, Amnesty International, European Journalism Centre, American Press Institute, International Fact Checking Network, Duke Reporters’ Lab.
Each partner is committed to sharing knowledge, developing policies and devising training in how journalists use the social web to find and report news.
If your newsroom is interested in joining the First Draft Coalition, we welcome your participation. To learn more about the network and to sign up as a partner organization, visit firstdraftnews.com/partner-network.