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Is the Verification Handbook useful: Check it out


As scholastic media and their advisers move more to online media and use more social media as a reporting tool, verification remains a critical issue.

Enter the Verification Handbook, a product of Poynter’s Craig Silverman and American Copy Editors Society (ACES) Merrill Perlman.

Subtitled “A definitive guide to verifying digital content for emergency coverage” it comes across as a thorough, easy to use and authoritative tool for our students to use as they grow into digital and social media reporting.

Here are some highlights:
Verification Fundamentals: Rules to live by
This segment by Steve Buttry stresses verification basic principles and basic strategies to implement them.
Case studies
In each of the segments, case studies show real examples of how verification works and suggests tools to make it so.
Verifying user-generated content
As scholastic journalism increasingly makes use of social media and tests crowd sourcing, verification techniques become essential. This segment gives a 4-step process for verification. Examples abound.
Verifying images and verifying video
These chapters offer a series of questions to ask before students use images from outside their staffs. Verification is at the core of the information.

In all, there are 10 chapters and an appendix full of good advice and suggestion. Since the materials are aimed at humanitarian professionals as well as journalists, it way seem information is too detailed or often not direct enough.

Not so.

All is usable, at least in ethical and concept approaches and mostly in practical terms. Chapter 10, verification tools, is worth an intensive look.

The Verification Handbook even has an online self-directed training course from The Poynter Institute that sounds incredibly helpful. The only issue is, at least for scholastic journalists, the course comes with a $29.95, unlike the substantial of excellent journalism training courses from Poynter.

While that might be a deterrent for scholastic and collegiate students, it is easily accessible for instructors. If it is at all comparable with other Poynter online courses, it would be worthwhile. Check the course’s info out at

Right now, it is available in online format at only, but its authors say PDF,eBook and print versions are soon to follow.

Similar to the Verification Handbook, the Scholastic Press Rights Commission has additional  teaching materials on verification and its related issues:
Another resource for teaching verification
Knowing what is what: Is it editorial content or is it advertising
Sifting through the sources: How to really know which source has the ‘truth’
Constitution Day 2013 teaching materials and lessons
Comparing sourcing, and verifying stories, in print, digital media
Effective and complete use of sources
Evaluating the use of anonymous sources
Practice sensitivity in your reporting
Ethics in the eye of the storm: Keep your live coverage error-free

One Comment

  1. Can you add an image so we can add this to Pinterest?

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