Fact-checking for African elections
Dates: 19 June - 23 June | Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Application deadline: 01 May | Programme: Elections Reporting
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This is an opportunity provided by the Elections Reporting programme: Find out more

In an era of “post truth”, fake news and propaganda, fact checking is more important than ever. Citizens need access to reliable news, based on evidence – particularly during election campaigns, when the news agenda is dominated by claims, promises and accusations made by politicians and the candidates vying to replace them.

However, providing quality, fact-checked coverage of an election can be a challenge when newsrooms have limited resources and are under pressure from increasingly short deadlines. Professional media may also have to contend with a growing lack of transparency from government sources, and compete with unregulated “information sources” on social media.

To address these challenges, the Thomson Reuters Foundation is partnering with TRI Facts at Africa Check – Africa’s first independent fact-checking organisation – to help African journalists and editors to fact-check their own election coverage.

The programme will provide skills, tools and resources on fact-checking in an African context. It will look at how to develop and integrate evidence-based election coverage into existing newsrooms, and how to make information engaging for an audience that might be fed up with the campaign.

The programme will feature:

  • A five-day workshop in Nairobi for journalists and editors, delivered by the Thomson Reuters Foundation and TRI Facts (Africa Check’s training and research division). It will feature practical fact-checking and reporting exercises to equip participants with the skills they need to fact-check political claims during an election campaign, and after elections.
  • A mentoring scheme: participants will be invited to submit proposals for stories or projects and a selection will receive one-to-one support from experts at the Thomson Reuters Foundation and TRI Facts. It could be a review of promises made in the previous election, an analysis of how various government departments use facts, or could involve setting up a “promise tracker” to follow up on what politicians say in the next campaign.
  • Participants will also receive support on specific fact-checks, for claims that prove difficult to verify.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Journalists and editors working for domestic media in African countries with elections coming up in the near- to mid-term (preferably in 2017 or 2018). These include, but are not limited to: Kenya, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Rwanda, Somaliland, Cameroon, Madagascar, Mauritania, and Zimbabwe.
  • You can be working in any medium – print, radio, TV, online
  • We are interested to hear from journalists or editors with the ability to change practice in their newsroom – for example by setting up standardised fact-checking processes
  • Applicants must be fluent in English
  • Applicants must have a minimum of one year's experience. They should either be working full-time for a media organisation, or a freelancer whose main work is journalism

FUNDING

We will cover all transport and subsistence costs of journalists and editors participating in this programme.

SUBMISSIONS

When applying you will be asked to upload the following documents - please have these ready:

  •  2 relevant work samples (maximum file size 5 MB). For stories not in English, please include a 250-word English summary about the story. Editors may submit stories that they have edited and which exemplify the output of their team or newsroom.
  • A letter from your editor (if applicable) consenting to your participation in the programme and committing to publish/broadcast resulting stories or implement editorial projects.
If you have any difficulties applying, please email trfmedia@thomsonreuters.com. 

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Elections Reporting
  • Media freedom and professional reporting are both essential requirements for a free and fair election. When the media plays its role as a balanced information source for the public and a tool for accountability, elections are more likely to be fair. But covering an election is complex and challenging.

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