City journalism academics to lead fake news project

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City, University of London journalism researchers will lead a major European push to combat ‘fake news’ after being awarded a new grant by the Google Digital News Initiative (DNI) to help journalists find and verify information in big data.

A team of researchers at City have been given £300,000 by Google to build a web-based app called DMINR. The app combines machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to help journalists fact check, make sense of data and verify information. It also has applications for investigative journalism by sorting and finding connections in so-called ‘big data’ such as police, government and environmental data, and company records.

City’s researchers will work with test users in up to 30 European newsrooms, including the data teams at the Telegraph media group and the Guardian in the UK, and the Investigations Unit at Ireland’s national broadcaster RTE, to build the web-based software tool.

A new tool for investigative journalism

The project aims to develop a “technological solution to a growing problem in journalism – how to conduct public interest journalism in a news ecosystem where resources are shrinking and, more starkly, newsrooms are closing down,” according to project lead and Senior Lecturer in Digital Journalism at City, Tom Felle(right).

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