Truly Media: Verification made easy
Truly Media: Verification made easy
In a world where eyewitnesses have become the ones who are the first at the scene of a breaking news event, in a world where Photoshopped and altered images have as much of an impact as an authentic ones, verification of the material coming to the newsrooms has never been more needed.
However, for a journalist to verify social media content, that journalist needs to have access to various verification tools: from the ones that help to verify the authenticity of a photo, to the ones that deliver accurate location and those that help ensure video and source verification. Looking for an adequate tool can in itself be time-consuming.
This is why, apart from the numerous tools that journalist and every interested member of the audience could use to verify the origin of information they are consuming, there are organizations such as Storyful, which offer “package deals” for verified information.
Others, like Truly Media, are based on a slightly different idea. The difference between these two organizations is in the way they operate. Storyful runs as a social media news agency that journalists can use to extract already verified content.
Truly Media allows journalists to verify the content for themselves, without needing to search for different tools. Everything is accessible from one interface: reverse image search, Google maps, video verification and social media search.
Established in the Spring of 2017, Truly Media is a new collaborative platform which enables journalists and media organization to perform the process of user generated content verification more easily. And more collaboratively.
In a time when the information is fast but the misinformation is even faster, and when in a giant pool of social media content, this kind of software could come become the solution for all the verification challenges we, as journalists, face daily.
Created by ATC iLab and Deutsche Welle’s Innovation Project team, this software will enable the journalists covering news that has elements of user generated content in it, to find this kind of content more easily and to verify it properly. But also, if needed, journalists will have an option to find collaborators and colleagues working on similar topics.
“Truly Media allows you to gather all kinds of social media into one collection to research a topic via different social networks. We know our verification workflow pretty well, and what we were trying to do is to bring all those tools that you actually need in your verification workflow together in one interface”, explains Ruben Bouwmeester, innovation manager at Deutsche Welle.
Using one breaking news event as an example, Ruben explains that it is clear that people have their own way of finding content. “But having three people working together in their own way of finding content, and then sharing their findings in a collection in Truly Media, we could see that the topic is easily provided with user-generated content to enrich the storytelling.” Not only will the report would be richer in content, it would also be more accurate: “One of them could focus on finding and verifying the source, another can inspect the authenticity of the photo, the third one could look for more content by checking e.g. Twitter lists, all in real time collaboration,” added Ruben.
Truly Media is aimed at journalists using social media and user generated content in their storytelling in order to, as Ruben says, make their lives a little easier. In a world where any trustworthy digital media journalist has to access numerous tools and social media networks to get content verified, this type of platform will indeed make their work progress easier.
The platform is currently in beta and is being tested by 12 different media, to make sure that all requirements are met before the platform goes live to a wider audience. Ruben describes Truly Media as an online platform on which users connect through his/her organization: “I could log in from my organization, and we can connect, for example, the way you connect with people on LinkedIn. And then we can start to work together on a specific story”.
One of the advantages of Truly Media, besides incorporation of various verification tools, is that it has a collaborative element to it as well.
“Everyone can add user generated content, from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or else, and it all goes into the same story collection, and then we can do collaborative verification. If you are better in source verification than I am, then you do the source. If you are good with background knowledge, on let’s say, Germany, then you do a location search for Germany, and I contribute with the knowledge I have,” explains Ruben.
Right now, the platform is available only with an English interface, but as Ruben said, it should become available to anyone working with user-generated content, without any geographical restrictions.
This will offer a chance to a great number of journalist to perform their work in an easier manner, without having to access multiple verification tools. Another advantage of Truly Media is they also managed to incorporate video verification in a manner that has already been done by Amnesty with their Data Viewer.
“We extract thumbnails from YouTube to make sure that the right time-stamp is connected to it, and to run reverse image search on them” adds Ruben.
Their aim is to release the platform as soon as possible, so that more journalists could benefit from it. “We are giving more and more people access to the tool. We will have a form for applying to become a beta tester on our website soon”, explains Ruben.
The possibilities provided by Truly Media, such as real time collaboration and verification across different social media platforms, and all with a goal to deliver verified and accurate content, is what makes this software a much-needed tool in every newsroom.