Journalistic interventions: The structural factors affecting the global emergence of fact-checking
Amazeen, Michelle A.
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CitationMichelle A Amazeen. 2017. "Journalistic interventions: The structural factors affecting the global emergence of fact-checking." Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism, https://doi.org/10.1177/1464884917730217.
Since the emergence of FactCheck.org in the United States in 2003, fact-checking interventions have expanded both domestically and globally. The Duke Reporter’s Lab identified nearly 100 active initiatives around the world in 2016. Building off of previous exploratory work by Amazeen, this research utilizes the framework of critical juncture theory to examine why fact-checking interventions are spreading globally at this point in time. Seen as a professional reform movement in the journalistic community, historical research on reform movements suggests several possible factors influencing the emergence of fact-checking such as a decline in journalism, easy access to technology for the masses, and socio-political strife. This study offers empirical support that fact-checking may be understood as a democracy-building tool that emerges where democratic institutions are perceived to be weak or are under threat and examines similarities between the growth of fact-checking interventions and previous consumer reform movements. As politics increasingly adopts strategies orchestrated by marketing and advertising consultants and agencies – exemplified in the Brexit referendum – political fact-checking may benefit from examining the path of consumer reform movements. For, before fact-checking can be effective at informing individuals, it must first establish itself within a structural environment.