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Questioning fact-checking in the fight against disinformation: An audience perspective

Kyriakidou, Maria ORCID:, Cushion, Stephen ORCID:, Hughes, Ceri and Morani, Marina ORCID: 2023. Questioning fact-checking in the fight against disinformation: An audience perspective. Journalism Practice 17 (10) , pp. 2123-3139. 10.1080/17512786.2022.2097118

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Fact-checking has been identified as a significant journalistic tool in the fight against disinformation. Relevant studies have focused on its emergence as a movement within journalism aiming at renewing the profession, as well as its effectiveness in challenging disinformation, especially during elections. However, little has been said about how audiences themselves understand fact-checking and employ it in their daily consumption of news. In this article, we answer these questions by drawing upon two sets of data. The first consists of fourteen focus group discussions in the UK, which included 52 participants, and were conducted online between April and May 2021. The second consists of two qualitative surveys that explored news consumers’ understandings of fact-checking and their evaluations of current fact-checking practices of UK media during the same period. We conclude that the use of fact-checking remains largely peripheral, and its influence is minimal in people’s news consumption. However, there is an appetite for more fact-checking in television news, as a way of holding politicians into account and helping the public better understand politics. In this context, we argue, if fact-checking is to play an important role in political discourse, it should become a regular part of broadcast journalism.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1751-2794
Funders: AHRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 23 June 2022
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2023 15:33

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