Verification Handbook: A Definitive Guide to Verifying Digital Content for Emergency Coverage

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) released in 2014 the Verification Handbook, the first ever guide that provides step-by-step guidelines for using user-generated content (UGC) during humanitarian emergencies.

Whether it is debunking images of ‘street sharks’ during Hurricane Sandy, or determining the veracity of videos that depict human rights abuses, reporting the right information is critical in shaping responses from the public and relief workers as a crisis unfolds.

The Handbook prescribes best practice advice on how to verify and use this information provided by the crowd, as well as actionable advice to facilitate disaster preparedness in newsrooms.

By providing the exact methods needed to validate information, photos and videos shared by the crowd, the Verification Handbook forms an essential component of any organisation’s disaster preparedness plan.

The Verification Handbook draws on the experiences of practitioners from some of the world’s premier news and aid organisations, including BBC, Storyful, The Guardian, ABC, Buzzfeed UK, NHK, Poynter Institute, Digital First Media, the Tow Center, GigaOM, the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute (QCRI), the Internews Center for Innovation & Learning, OpenStreetMap, Amnesty International, Circa, Meedan, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), WITNESS, the Dart Centre Europe, and Shabab Souria.

An online version of Verification Handbook is available for free at http://verificationhandbook.com, and a PDF, Kindle and Print version were released. The book is available in several languages, including Bosnian Serbian Croatian (BSC) version that was developed in partnership with Mediacentar Sarajevo, a SEENPM member.

While it primarily targets journalists and aid providers, the Handbook can be used by anyone. It’s advice and guidance are valuable whether you are a news journalist, citizen reporter, relief responder, volunteer, journalism school student, emergency communication specialist, or an academic researching social media.

The Handbook is developed and managed by the European Journalism Centre, based in the Netherlands, under its Emergency Journalism initiative.

The initiative is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, as well as by the African Media Initiative (AMI), and supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), Humanity Road and many other organisations.

Website: http://verificationhandbook.com
Twitter hashtag: #emjo

Read more about the Verification Handbook on Poynter.org.

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