Declaring war on disinformation
False claims on the internet are a serious threat to democracy. Conspiracy myths about the corona virus, for example, and disinformation campaigns as the one in the Ukraine conflict, for example, make it difficult for citizens to access factual information and distort the process of forming free opinions based on facts. The circulation of false reports are also a problem for the media where journalists are hindered in their independent reporting and citizens’ trust is therefore shaken.
To counteract this, the dpa’s fact-checking editorial team launched the Faktencheck21 project in 2021, which is co-funded by the Google News Initiative. Within this framework, dpa offers workshops on verification techniques for journalists from all over Germany to train them in dealing with false claims. The spread of false claims on the internet was a particular challenge for the German media landscape in the course of the 2021 federal election.
To ensure a lasting learning effect, one of the project’s goals was to expand the training opportunities with a digital offering. In this way, more journalists were given the opportunity to train in the area of fact checking. As a full-service agency, we at Factorial supported the project throughout the duration of the process and were responsible for implementing a digital solution.
To develop a digital training offering, it was first necessary, together with the Faktencheck21 project team, to determine the project goal and define the phases of the project. The implementation was finally completed using various substeps.
This initial workshop provided the groundwork to explain the general strategy and objectives of dpa-Factify and to define the roles of all parties involved. It also served to align the team in terms of the project process and was conducted with the kind support of MindMatters.
Initial gain of knowledge
The review and processing of existing surveys that followed the workshop assisted the project team in aligning successive steps with existing findings. Further insights were gained by obtaining feedback from the training session participants. The data collected formed the basis for the subsequent feature-mapping workshop.
Throughout the duration of this workshop, the product’s range of services was explored and the initial product core was defined. The first navigation elements and the overall structure of the platform were also specified. In addition, the teaching content and the formats to be depicted were determined as the basis for an initial product launch.
After the initial product feature set was determined, the advantages and disadvantages of various technical solutions were discussed together with the project team. Drupal 8 was chosen as the content management system for the editorial team, and Vue.js as the main frontend framework.
Information architecture and wireframing
The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) defined in the feature-mapping workshop was applied as the basis for the information architecture concept. In addition, the content and the platform structure were refined. As a next step, the developed concept was visualized in wireframes.
Implementation of the UI design
After the creation of the content structure using the MVP, wireframes could now be transferred into the UI design using the existing design system ‘dpa-design-kit’. Additionally, some custom illustrations were developed for the emerging platform. Moreover, an extension to the usage context of the product as well as the appearance of the subsidiary was implemented.
With the features provided, the e-learning portal dpa-Factify creates an extensive learning opportunity for media professionals in their daily work. Moreover, the platform offers the ideal tool for identifying false claims on the internet. To illustrate the features of dpa-Factify, selected aspects of the application are highlighted below to provide insight into the digital offering.
Training sessions with video content
The videos provided on the platform highlight various issues when dealing with disinformation, and illustrate them with examples.
The chapter overview simplifies navigation through the content sections with just a few clicks and thus supports users in their individual learning process.
The content provided on the platform can also be downloaded as a PDF in the form of a summary (one-pager). The collected links in the link list refer to additional, helpful tools and applications that are intended to support media professionals in their daily work.
Interactive exercises and quizzes
The large selection of interactive exercises and practical applications helps users test the knowledge they have gained. In addition to video contributions, the platform also contains interactive images and quiz questions that convey the content in a varied and playful manner.
In this way, the theoretical content is transferred to practical examples and users can test their own level of knowledge.
Authentication and access management
By connecting to the dpa’s single sign-on via a JWT procedure, users have access to logging in via the dpa ID as an existing SSO solution. The login to the platform can be managed by the customers themselves. Finally, a solution was found for the integration of external media content via different platforms, including dpa video and hp5.
The learning platform dpa-Factify created by Factorial makes a crucial contribution to the daily work of journalists of German media houses. With the developed tools in the area of fact checking and verification techniques, dpa is able to significantly support media professionals in independent reporting.
The e-learning platform was rolled out in a multi-stage process and the content has been continuously expanded by the dpa team independently since its launch in April 2021. Managing the learning platform with the editorial system enables dpa to add new content and continuously update the learning offering.
Several hundred journalists — and the number is counting, from German media companies now have access to the digital offering. In cooperation with the news agency APA, the platform has now been expanded to include a version for users in Austria.
- dpa-factify.comdpa-infocom GmbH
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