The Knight Science Journalism fellowship program at MIT is hosting an expenses-covered fact-checking workshop November 8 to 10, 2019 at the Endicott House in Dedham, MA. This workshop will bring together about two-dozen copy editors and early-career journalists to learn about fact-checking, with a focus on science journalism. This pilot workshop is part of a larger project to improve fact-checking in science journalism, run by KSJ @ MIT and funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The project is an extension of the 2018 white paper “The State of Fact-Checking in Science Journalism,” also funded by Moore.
To apply, please fill out this form by September 9, 2019. (Only U.S.-based journalists are eligible to apply.)
For our pilot workshop, we are inviting copy editors and early-career journalists because they hold key positions when it comes to fact-checking — copy editors because they often have the last eyes on a story before it goes live and usually have some fact-checking responsibilities, and early-career journalists because setting good practices early will help build solid journalistic foundations.
Note: The application is not limited to editors and journalists who already cover science. If you are a copy editor or early-career journalist who has any interest in covering science, health, technology, or the environment: Please apply!
The draft schedule and speaker list appear below. For more details regarding the workshop, or if you have any questions about the application or the KSJ fact-checking project more broadly, please email Brooke Borel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, November 8
All day: Participants arrive and check-in
6 pm: Mixer
7 pm: Dinner and keynote by Patti Wolter, Helen Gurley Brown Magazine Professor / Associate Professor, Medill School of Journalism
Saturday, November 9
8 am: Breakfast
9 am to 4:15 pm: Lectures and workshops on the following topics:
- Fact-Checking 101 with Jane Roberts, Deputy Editor at Undark
- How Science Publishing Works with Ashley Smart, Associate Director of KSJ @MIT and Senior Editor at Undark
- Case Study: The Anatomy of a Fact-Check with Brad Scriber, Deputy Research Director, National Geographic magazine
- How to Work with Data with Meredith Broussard, Associate Professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University
- The Dos and Don’ts of Health Reporting with Mary Chris Jaklevic, freelance health journalist
4:15 pm to 5:45 pm: Breakout sessions on topics including:
- How to navigate source relationships
- How to set up a fact-checking system at your outlet
- Fact-checking on a budget
- Making the case for fact-checking resources at your outlet
7:15 pm: Dinner
Sunday, November 10
9 am: Breakfast
10 am: Group project
1 pm: Lunch, final words, and departure
Meredith Broussard is an assistant professor at the Arthur L Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and the author of “Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.” Her research focuses on artificial intelligence in investigative reporting, with a particular interest in using data analysis for social good. She is an affiliate faculty member at the Moore Sloan Data Science Environment at the NYU Center for Data Science, a 2019 Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellow, and her work has been supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences as well as the Tow Center at Columbia Journalism School. A former features editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, she has also worked as a software developer at AT&T Bell Labs and the MIT Media Lab. Her features and essays have appeared in The Atlantic, Harper’s, Slate, and other outlets. Follow her on Twitter @merbroussard or contact her via meredithbroussard.com.
Mary Chris Jaklevic is a freelance journalist focused on writing critically about health care interventions for a consumer audience. She’s covered health care since 1993, focusing on business, public policy and medical aspects. She was reporter and editor at the journalism watchdog project HealthNewsReview.org, which evaluated news stories and news releases about medical interventions based on 10 criteria. She served on the board of the Association of Health Care Journalists and taught at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
Jane Roberts is the deputy editor of Undark Magazine. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a B.A. in journalism and economics, with a minor in environmental studies. Before coming to Undark, Jane interned with the wealth team at Forbes, where she valued and wrote about some of the country’s richest billionaires. She joined Undark in 2016 and has since developed its widely respected fact-checking program.
Brad Scriber is the deputy research director for National Geographic magazine, where he helps ensure the accuracy of the magazine’s worldwide reporting. During his nearly fifteen years on staff at the magazine, he has fact-checked hundreds of thousands of words and helped the magazine maintain its commitment to accuracy even as the pace of magazine journalism has accelerated. He was a Knight Science Journalism Energy and Climate Boot Camp Fellow, and has spoken about fact-checking in science writing at meetings organized by the National Association of Science Writers and the Poynter Institute. He holds a master’s degree in geography from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in nonfiction writing from Johns Hopkins University. Before joining National Geographic, he did definitive research on the extent of inaccuracies in credit reports that helped reshape federal credit reporting laws.
Ashley Smart is the associate director of the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT and a senior editor at Undark magazine. He previously spent eight years as an editor and reporter at Physics Today magazine and cofounded the science news blog HBSciU. Ashley was a 2015-16 Knight Science Journalism fellow and is a member of the advisory board of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Ashley has a PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL.
Patti Wolter joined the Medill faculty in the spring of 2002 and was named the Helen Gurley Brown Magazine Professor in 2018. Prior to joining the faculty, she spent 12 years in senior staff magazine jobs in New York, San Francisco and Chicago, including serving in the managing editor and acting editor positions at Mother Jones magazine and overseeing the award-winning health investigations team at Self magazine. Her freelance writing on women’s health and nutrition has appeared in a range of publications, and she continues to work as an editorial consultant for various print and online outlets. Wolter’s teaching focuses on the magazine industry, fact-checking, science writing and narrative, especially in relationship to feature writing and multimedia storytelling. She teaches courses in magazine editing, feature writing, health and science reporting, and narrative structure for undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to her regular teaching, Wolter has designed and implemented fact-checking curricula across Medill classes and programs and regularly guest lectures on the topic. For Northwestern’s Graduate School, Wolter is part of the team that developed a writing-for-consumer-audiences class for STEM+ Ph.D. students and serves as the lead lecturer for the course, now in its fifth year. Wolter also gives lectures and runs workshops for scientists on how to communicate with media and to develop skills for sharing their findings to lay audiences.