So what do you do when, after an incredibly busy and somewhat stressful month, you receive an email saying that you have been given $5,000 to “concentrate on a brilliant idea”? I might have done something like this.
I was nominated by the mighty Esra’a Al Shafei, the founder and executive director of Mideast Youth. She is a Shuttleworth Fellow and is doing incredible work right now, particularly in terms of MidEast Tunes, the largest platform for underground musicians in the Middle East and North Africa.
I’ve yet to figure out exactly how I’ll spend the money but it will involve creating resources to help teach people how to verify facts, images and videos circulating on the social web.
Last year, I co-founded Eyewitness Media Hub. We’ve had a great first year. We published three new research projects, one on the use of eyewitness media by global online news sites, one on attitudes towards eyewitness media by UK audiences, and the third is on vicarious trauma, and it launches on Friday. We also published ethical guidelines for newsrooms reaching out to eyewitnesses caught up in breaking news events. Finally, in June we became a founding member of the First Draft Coalition, and helped launched FirstDraftNews, a website full of articles and resources for newsrooms and journalism schools. The focus is on social discovery, verification and the ethical use of eyewitness media.
But one thing we haven’t tackled is creating resources aimed at everyone. How can we improve digital literacy so as many people as possible know which checks to run before clicking the retweet or share button.
Almost every day rumours, doctored images or hoaxes circulate. Some of this false information is created deliberately, but often old content is re-shared by people trying to be helpful.
This the main problem I want to tackle. How can we teach the simple techniques that will help people ascertain whether something is true or not? And how can we create visual tools to signpost false content as it gets shared?
This very generous grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation will help me work on these problems, and I’m confident that over the next six months I will have come up with some solutions. If anyone has ideas or wants to help, please get in touch. I will be posting about the project here and on my Twitter account.
Thank you again to Esra’a for nominating me, and to the Shuttleworth Foundation for listening to her! I’m very proud to be able to say I’m Shuttleworth funded.