On Twitter every now and then a celebrity is declared dead. Very often this is just a hoax: For instance, Eddie Murphy and Denzel Washington have had a mysterious deadly snowboarding accident. And when North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il died, the rapper Lil Kim became a trending topic as many hip hop fans simply got confused due their similar names.
Rumours, hoaxes and wrong information have been everyday phenomena in the news business. With social media some things have changed: User generated content has become a new source for journalists and now news spread and modify faster than ever. Journalists have to adapt to these new conditions. Last week I gave a lecture to first-year journalism students in Oslo. In the talk I put the phenomenon of rumours in social media into context and gave the students some tips on how to use the means they have available to check facts. The last slide contains links to a excellent blog posts and papers that contribute to the topic. Elsebeth Frey at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences was so kind to give me the opportunity to speak in her class about fact checking.
And these are the slides: