As the Russian-Ukrainian war continues to escalate, unfortunately so do disinformation tactics. Over the last few weeks, there has been an amid surge of questionable news content appearing on social media and in several media outlets. When reporting news as sensitive as a war or global emergencies, journalists must take extra precautions and have solid evidence to support their claims.
For that matter, and based on our long-term experience working on fighting disinformation, we have rounded up a list of tips, tools, and resources for newsrooms or freelance journalists who cover situations like this, either for reporting news or for their social media posts.
Follow up with the latest fact-checked and debunked news stories
- War in Ukraine: The fact-checked disinformation detected in the EU by the fact-checking network of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO)
- Regular fact checks on the Ukraine conflict by the fact-checking network of the Central European Digital Media Observatory (CEDMO)
- Documenting and Debunking Dubious Footage from Ukraine’s Frontlines from Ukraine’s frontlines from Bellingcat
- Live Reporting (BBC)
- Ukraine Crisis Live (The Guardian)
- Ukraine Disinformation (Full Fact)
Verify whether images and videos are real and in accurate context by using fact-checking tools
When it comes to digital fact-checking tools, journalists can use:
- The verification platform Truly Media, to better deal with the increased volume and complexity of online disinformation, by using multiple fact-checking tools, like Reverse Image Searches, Verification by location and image analysis algorithms. Learn more about Truly Media’s functionalities here.
- TruthNest, a Twitter analytics tool, which is also integrated into Truly Media. TruthNest uses several metrics in order to retrieve and provide a variety of analytics that can help gain additional insights about a Twitter account (activity, network, influence, bot probability score).
- One of the most well-known ways of verifying images online, Google’s image search can help tracing back to where else a photo has appeared online, helping make sure that the used images are legitimate.
In order to spot and tackle disinformation, another valuable source is this collection of training courses and toolkits, provided by First Draft. (available also in French, Spanish and German)
Protect communications and sensitive information
If journalists want to tackle some of the ethical challenges when sharing sensitive information and visuals, they can take steps like the one described in the Digital Security Guide, issued by the Rory Peck Foundation.
- There is a helpful guide from the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) on the essential steps that journalists need to follow in emergency situations.
- When speaking to survivors of attacks and refugees, here are some tips on what to do before, during and after the interview. The Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma has also gathered significant resources for journalists who report on survivors of the conflict.
- Poynter also sums up ethical considerations for journalists as the Russian invasion of Ukraine unfolds.
Last but not least, we must point out that in war reporting, newsroom staff can also suffer from PTSD/vicarious trauma. Here are some tips for journalists to protect their mental health while witnessing these tragic events
Review what is valid for international law in conflicts
As covering international conflicts and global emergencies is not only a sensitive matter but can also be dangerous, especially for war correspondents, media professionals must be informed on international humanitarian laws.
- Russia & Ukraine: International law occupation, armed conflict and human rights
- International humanitarian law, protecting people who are not or are no longer participating in hostilities and restricting the means and methods of warfare
- How does international humanitarian law protect journalists in armed-conflict situations?
Review academic readings on journalism and war
Here is a selection of reading suggestions provided by several media researchers for professionals that are looking for further expertise on media and war:
- The search for common ground in conflict news research: Comparing the coverage of six current conflicts in domestic and international media over time
- War and Media
- The Media at War
- War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War
Additional resources for following the invasion of Ukraine
- Infographic: ATC’s experience on fact-checking
- The State of Ukraine podcast, lauched by NPR, bringing listeners everything they need to know about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,
- The Russia-Ukraine war briefing email newsletter, by The New York Times, providing a summary of the biggest news from the invasion.
- Carefully selected Twitter lists with experts, journalists and reporters on the ground (see here and here)
- The updated daily Sanctions Tracker, launched by the German investigative nonprofit Correctiv, of all sanctions against Russia. (available in German and English)
- How to spot false posts from Ukraine
- Tips on reporting misinformation from official sources
- How to spot video and photo fakes as Russia invades Ukraine
- Tools and resources for journalists covering the Ukrainian war
- 12 tips for covering traumatic stories remotely