Victorian election 2018: How to spot and suggest a fact check

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Elections
Australians vote on paper, a key element of security. REUTERS/David Gray

Between now and November 24, when Victorians will choose their next government, they’re sure to be hit with more than their fair share of political spin, misinformation, half-truths, and maybe even a few brazen falsehoods.

That’s why we’ll be turning our fact-checking efforts to the issues facing Victorians as they decide the future course of their state.

And it’s why we want to hear from you, our readers – particularly those of you who live in Victoria. What’s the most pressing issue for you in this election campaign? What do you want to see fact-checked?

With your help, we’ll identify the most questionable claims and test them against the evidence, working with some of Australia’s leading academic experts to bring you information you can trust.

Here’s how you can get in touch with us, plus some ideas for locating material in need of myth-busting.

Things that make you go ‘hmmm’

Many of our FactChecks are published in response to statements made by politicians and other influential public figures. But there are plenty of other potential sources of misinformation.

Whenever you read or hear something that makes you think: “Really? Is that right?” That’s the perfect time to request a FactCheck.

For a claim to be checkable, there needs to be a data set or body of research evidence against which it can be tested. But don’t worry too much about that – we can assess the possibilities when we receive your suggestion.

The email address for requests is checkit@theconversation.edu.au. It helps if you can let us know where and when you came across the claim.

If the source is an online article or social media post, send us a link, where possible.

If it’s something you see in print, perhaps in a newspaper, a letter or a pamphlet, consider taking a photo with your phone, and send it in.

It’s not always easy to remember the exact details of a quote, especially if you heard it on the radio or on television. In those cases, just provide as much information as you can.

Perhaps the questionable claim is something you heard at a leaders’ debate or community event.

It could be a statement made in an advertisement, or a robo-call from a politician.

There’s a growing trend of misinformation being spread through private messaging platforms like WhatsApp. If you receive a viral message or meme that you would like to share with us, you can take a screen shot on your phone. If you’re not sure how to do that, you can find instructions here and here.

Alternatively, if you haven’t spotted a particular claim, but there’s an election issue you’re interested in, or a perception in your community you’d like to see explored in more detail, let us know.

How we do FactChecks at The Conversation

The Conversation’s FactCheck unit has been running since January 2013.

Our method is unique, and we’re proud of it. Our experienced journalists work closely with some of Australia’s most respected academic experts to test claims against the best available data and scientific research. Our FactCheck authors bring years, and often decades, of expertise to the task.

After being rigorously researched, verified and tested from all angles, each FactCheck is subject to a blind review from another academic expert, who analyses the article without knowing the author’s identity. This is a valuable process that ensures the integrity and accuracy of The Conversation’s FactChecks.

These are just some of the reasons our FactCheck unit is accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network, an alliance of fact-checkers hosted at the Poynter Institute in the United States.

The accreditation means we’re committed to a code of principles that require non-partisanship and fairness, transparency of sources and methodology, transparency of funding and organisation, and a commitment to open and honest corrections.

Steal our FactChecks (seriously)

At The Conversation, we believe a healthy information ecosystem is fundamental to a healthy society, and that everyone should have access to accurate information.

That’s why The Conversation publishes all of its content under a Creative Commons licence. This means our FactChecks, and all other articles, can be republished online or in print, for free.

Our FactChecks have been republished by The Guardian, the ABC, SBS, Fairfax and more.

All you need to do is click the blue “Republish this article” button on the right hand side of the article. The republishing guidelines are simple, and you can find them here.

Stay in touch

You might like to sign up to our GetFacts newsletter, so you can receive FactChecks direct to your inbox when they’re published.

The GetFacts newsletter is also home to blind reviewed articles from The Conversation’s excellent Research Check series and other great myth-busting science pieces.

We look forward to reading your FactCheck suggestions, and wish you a well-informed election season.

 

The Conversation is an independent, not-for-profit media service. If you value what we do, please consider becoming a Friend of The Conversation by making a tax-deductible donation.

The Conversation FactCheck is accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network.

The Conversation’s FactCheck unit was the first fact-checking team in Australia and one of the first worldwide to be accredited by the International Fact-Checking Network, an alliance of fact-checkers hosted at the Poynter Institute in the US. Read more here.

Have you seen a “fact” worth checking? The Conversation’s FactCheck asks academic experts to test claims and see how true they are. We then ask a second academic to review an anonymous copy of the article. You can request a check at checkit@theconversation.edu.au. Please include the statement you would like us to check, the date it was made, and a link if possible.The Conversation

 

Lucinda Beaman, FactCheck Editor, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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