From reporting on ground to using technology for verifying facts, we at The Quint, try to incorporate more than one source of information to fact-check a claim. We also rely heavily on data available on public domain to conduct fact-checks. We also apply this principle for reporting in general, and try to verify facts even in our opinion pieces before publishing.
WebQoof has established itself as one of the leading disinformation buster in the industry. Launched in May 2017, it has built a dedicated audience who not only read our stories, but also, and most importantly, bring to our attention disinformation for us to expose.
Now, during election season, and as propaganda and hate-driven disinformation campaigns escalate, WebQoof has been on the forefront busting those and bringing the truth out in the open. The segment utilises multimedia - text, audio, video - to be more effective and in order to stand out from the rest.
Jaskirat Singh Bawa is a Senior News Editor. He worked as a broadcast news journalist before joining The Quint as one of its founding team members. Jaskirat co-heads the 24x7 news desk and provides editorial supervision and guidance to the in-house fact-check team.
Shelly Walia is a Senior News Editor, co-heading the 24x7 news desk, comprising writers, reporters and truth-vigilantes fighting fake news. Although her tryst with media began as a print journalist at Business Standard, it is in digital media with its fast-changing (and challenging) environment that she feels she truly belongs. She worked at Quartz before joining The Quint in her current role more than two years ago.
Kritika Goel works as a multimedia journalist at The Quint and relies on multimedia elements to narrate stories. She has a deep rooted interest in politics and development issues.
Himanshi Dahiya is multimedia journalist with keen interest in understanding political, social and cultural dynamics of the society. A photographer on the run, she manages to capture a story or two when not in the newsroom.
Divya Chandra is a multimedia journalist at The Quint. She has a keen interest in education related stories. She enjoys debunking viral videos, images and text and likes to go beyond the obvious.
The process of fact-checking ranges from ground reporting, to calling various stakeholders and authorities to verify facts, reverse searches and analysing various parts of a message for a detailed response.
We have sent our reporters on the ground many times to verify news stories and thus preventing misinformation from spreading. One of the examples was at the time of theKathua rape case. Our reporter traveled to Kathua, J&K to verify bring out the facts. We also rely on personal interaction with concerned parties to verify messages pertaining to them. For instance: Various messages about government schemes – when the details are not available on government websites – we write/call the Ministry for clarification.
Since the messages that we receive range from text messages to videos, the way we handle it differs.
Some pictures can be identified that they have been tampered with by doing a simple google reverse search. As the result shows similar images, they can be identified if they are fake or not. Secondly, closer look at photographs help in analysing aspects of the picture which reveal details that help in checking the authenticity of the image. For instance: Details in pictures like billboards, location play a role in verifying.
Verifying videos can be tricky but both the audio and the video, play a role in verifying it. For instance: A message was circulating on social media that claimed that a raid was conducted on a dhaba near Delhi and the condition of the kitchen was extremely poor and unhygienic. But on watching the video we found it to be false. What helped us verify it was: The audio. People in the video were talking in Punjabi while the video was claimed to be of Haryana. Afterwards, using the language as a clue, we found the same video online. It was not just from a different location but was also quite old.
For texts we take the cues and look for the information online then further analyse the source and verifying the piece bit by bit.
There are different methodologies adopted for different stories but we maintain a policy of not just relying, blindly, on popular sources of information until we ourselves are sure about the information that we put forward for our readers.
This is the link to our 'WebQoof' section, where we stack all the stories that we debunk: https://www.thequint.com/news/webqoof
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