Poynter launches Teen Fact-Checking Network in Spain

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THE Poynter Institute has launched the Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN) to protect teenagers from falling for online misinformation in Spain.

The innovative programme led by MediaWise in partnership with Verificat and Mobile World Capital aimed at empowering teenagers to become savvy digital detectives, debunk false claims, and promote media literacy among their peers.

With this partnership, Spain marked the second European expansion of the TFCN, joining existing newsrooms in the United States, Brazil, Germany, and India in recognizing the crucial role Gen Z plays in the digital landscape. The programme equips them with the skills and tools to navigate the often murky waters of social media.

“Teens are the future, and their ability to discern fact from fiction online is paramount,” says Brittani Kollar, deputy director of MediaWise. “The TFCN empowers them to actively participate in the fight against misinformation, benefiting not only themselves but also their communities.”

Through the programme, 10 Spanish teenagers will undergo a four-month intensive training, learning journalistic script writing, fact-checking techniques, and media literacy principles.

Guided by professional fact-checker, Ona Sindreu, from Verificat, they’ll tackle trending topics and create engaging short videos for Instagram and TikTok, platforms where they and their peers spend significant time.

Alba Tobella, director of Verificat, emphasizes the importance of critical thinking: “Teens are constantly bombarded with information online, and they must learn to evaluate it critically. The TFCN encourages them to find their areas of interest and develop their methods for verifying information, ensuring the quality of their sources and research.”

Mobile World Capital Barcelona, a foundation dedicated to digital development and innovation, recognizes the TFCN’s potential.

“Combating misinformation is essential in today’s digital world,” says Eduard Martín, CIO of MWCapital. “This project aligns perfectly with our mission to empower everyone, and we’re proud to support the next generation in acquiring the skills they need to identify and debunk fake news.”

With Spain’s addition, the TFCN continues its global expansion, fostering a network of young fact-checkers who are making a difference in the online world. As misinformation continues to pose a challenge, these empowered teens are emerging as crucial allies in the fight for a more informed and media-literate future.

The inaugural TFCN Spain cohort is underway, but applications for the second group are open until March 13, 2024. Spanish residents interested in joining the fight against misinformation and developing their digital literacy skills can find more information and apply on the application website.

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Amala is a tactical Fact-Checker, who is passionate about using Fact-checking to curb the spread of Misinformation and Disinformation which has become prevalent in the media space. She can be reached on X at muonweblessing and LinkedIn on Amala Blessing Muonwe

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