All over the world, a massive immunization effort is underway.
The rapid nature of the COVID-19 vaccine development process and the great anxiety caused by the pandemic have made the topic of vaccination particularly susceptible to misinformation. Journalists can play a fundamental role supporting an evidence-based discourse by listening to their audiences’ concerns and providing corrective information about misconceptions that circulate online and offline.
To support this work, the Google News Initiative launched a $3 million Open Fund in January. Over a three-week window, we received more than 309 applications from 74 countries.
Today, we are announcing the 11 projects that were selected through an extensive review process that included a 17-person project team and an expert jury reviewing the highest-scoring applicants.
These projects stood out for their attempt to reach underrepresented audiences, explore new formats for fact checks and rigorous strategies to measure their impact. Each recipient will be sharing more details on their own channels in the upcoming weeks. Here’s a brief overview of the projects:
Africa Check, in partnership with Theatre for a Change, will produce a series of interactive radio drama shows in Wolof in Senegal and Pidgin in Nigeria to present fact checks in a more participatory format.
Agência Lupa will provide COVID-19 vaccine fact checks to a network of community radios covering Brazilian “news deserts” and work with digital influencers to promote media literacy on the topic.
Aleteia, I.Media and Verificat.cat will work with a scientific committee and two research centers to source misinformation and create a database of related fact checks available in seven languages for Catholic media outlets around the world.
Chequeado will continue spearheading the collaborative project Latam Chequea that includes more than 20 fact-checking organizations across Latin America. It will aim to reach senior citizens, indigenous populations and 18-to-26-year-olds through dedicated formats.
The hyperlocal digital site Escenario Tlaxcala, assisted by local doctors, will produce fact-checking content and distribute it across the Mexican state in Nahuatl and Otomí through various formats including by using “perifoneo” loudspeakers to reach offline audiences.
Katadata will provide a platform debunking COVID-19 vaccine misinformation and work with the Indonesia Traditional Wet Market Merchants Association (Asparindo) to disseminate this content to wet markets across the country.
In Uruguay, la diaria will publish fact checks and co-created content around COVID-19 misinformation, broadening its reach by partnering with trap music performer Pekeño 77 and screenwriter Pedro Saborido.
Servimedia and Maldita.es will join force to create fact-checking content relevant for Spaniards with disabilities, in formats that are accessible to them.
Stuff will work in partnership with Māori Television and the Pacific Media Network to fact-check misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine in New Zealand.
A broad collaborative project led by The Quint in India will seek to source hyper-local misinformation and distribute fact checks through a grassroots network of rural women.
Univision Noticias and FactCheck.org will work together to produce fact checks about COVID-19 immunization as short bilingual video explainers, with a plan to measure their impact systemically and reach a majority of U.S. Hispanic households.
Our goal is for the lessons learned from these initiatives to support our collective understanding of how best to combat misinformation about health topics, whether it’s through new audience strategies or new approaches to measuring the impact of fact checks. Stay tuned for more updates from us as these projects get underway.