We are building on our pioneering work around elections in the US, France, UK, Germany, Brazil and Nigeria to support the development of sustainable, collaborative efforts globally in 2019. We have plans to support projects in Argentina, Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Spain and Uruguay, plus a cross-border project to investigate misinformation tactics and trends in Europe.
It’s been three and a half years since First Draft was first established and the landscape has changed significantly since our first meeting in New York April 2015. First Draft went from a gathering of people working in verification to help establish standards and build skills, to a project that carries out fieldwork, research and training.
While our previous projects have focused exclusively on elections, our goal in 2019 is to work with newsrooms so the skills and workflows continue past election day. In February, we will roll out a new platform, CrossCheck International, to help journalists investigate disinformation and coordinated campaigns of inauthentic amplification. While political disinformation is a problem, it’s very clear that misinformation around science and health, as well as inflammatory posts based on hatred and conspiracy are just as pernicious and destructive. We also therefore want to focus on longer term investigations, as well as providing journalists with skills how to responsibly report on false claims or misleading images.
After each project, we evaluate the impact, both on audiences and the journalists who have been involved, for example this report into the CrossCheck project in France. In a few months, we will publish a report about our Brazilian project Comprova, our largest election project to date.
We are also working with Nic Dias and Professor Matt Baum at the Shorenstein Center on research into misinformation on closed-messaging apps in Brazil, India, Myanmar, Nigeria and Pakistan. This research should be some of the most comprehensive research on the spread of misinformation on these closed platforms.
In October 2017, we launched our online verification curriculum. It has been translated into Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish, and will be translated into an additional eight languages by summer 2019. We will be expanding this curriculum to include guidance on effective detection and monitoring techniques, plus best practices for the responsible handling of mis- and disinformation. We will continue to run training events around the world, and will lead and stream workshops in multiple languages from our new studio space in London. All members of our CrossCheck International network will benefit from weekly email tips and recommendations, and invitations to regular support webinars.
First Draft began as a coalition of nine organizations in 2015, with a mission to establish standards and train journalists in verification and social newsgathering. All of the organizations and key members of the original coalition continue to contribute incredible work in the field of verification and misinformation (e.g. Bellingcat, Meedan, Storyful and Dig Deeper) or to develop impressive portfolios in their own right (e.g. Craig SIlverman at Buzzfeed or Malachy Browne at The New York Times), among many others.
In late 2016, we broadened our reach, creating our Partner Network.The Network includes some of the largest news organizations and prominent people working in this space.The Partner Network is designed to scale training and establish industry standards on social monitoring, verification, and responsible reporting on disinformation. We will be inviting all partners to join the CrossCheck International initiative in 2019, with an aim of forming the largest cross-border training and investigation network in the world.
In October 2017, First Draft was invited to join the Shorenstein Center for Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. During this time, we inspired and coordinated the development of the Information Disorder Lab and expanded the scope of our research to explore the spread and threat of misinformation on closed messaging apps.
With thanks to ongoing support from key funders, First Draft now operates as an independent entity with an office and event space in London (near Kennington Park), and a New York bureau housed at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.
All positions are advertised for an immediate start and we are actively seeking to build a diverse and multi-lingual team. Please see our Opportunities page for full details of our recruitment policy.