Category Archives: Review

Verification Handbook Review

By: Rose Merritz

The European Centre of Journalism’s Verification Handbook [1] was released online at this week, with PDF, Kindle and Print versions to be released on 7 February, and an Arabic version soon after that.

The handbook discusses the processes of verifying user-generated content (e.g. pictures or information gathered from social media accounts in emergencies). It’s targeted at emergency journalists and aid workers, but is also a great resource for anyone wanting to learn the modus operandi of verification: it covers the basics of verification, is filled with lessons learned and examples, and can assist the reader in creating a verification checklist.

The length is short, the contents are to-the-point, and the collaborators have covered various topics related to authentication of user generated content through the entirety of of the verification process in an attempt to help the reader determine the best possible way to answer the age-old question: “How do you know that?”

The handbook cites lessons learned, in-field experience, and analysis of past emergent events.  Events cited include the violence in Jos, Nigeria in 2010, London’s July 7 Bombings in 2005, the Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections in 2012, and the Boston Marathon Bombings in 2013.  Studies directly referenced were Harkin 2012 on Syria [2], and Castillo 2012 on Predicting Information Credibility [3].

The Verification Handbook is expected by the European Centre of Journalism to have a significant impact on emergency journalism and aid workers.