Washington Post's TruthTeller will check facts in real-time

The application, which the Post hopes to make available to journalists at other news outlets, was awarded $50,000 by the Knight Foundation to help it get started

By Rachel McAthy

The Washington Post is to develop a TruthTeller application which will offer real-time fact checking of video and audio, such as speeches by politicians, after receiving a $50,000 grant from the Knight Foundation's Prototype Fund.

Currently the Washington Post has "a very robust fact checking operation", executive producer for digital news at the Washington Post Cory Haik told Journalism.co.uk, but she added that this is "just not necessarily real time".

With the funding under its belt the Post can now look to start building a team to work on developing the concept for a real-time fact checker. This team will include people from the Post as well as other partners, such as Dan Schultz, a Knight Mozilla Fellow who created fact-checking tool Truth Googles.

The specially selected team will work on building the tool over the next few months, which a target of having a product ready for its own journalists to use by the presidential debates later this year.

"The idea is anyone could record what leaders are saying, politicians, leaders, or otherwise, and then we in some way, in real time, match that to the truths that we know. Our own fact checking operation. So a database of those truths. Or we source what the truth is from other places." Haik explained.

These could be "social databases that we build that would grow bigger, and bigger and bigger", she added. "And then relay that in real time.

"It's pretty simple in that way but to build it is super ambitious and complicated."

She said that having received the funding the Post will now "start work on this speech transcription".

"So video of speeches in real time, ingesting that and translating that to text and then passing that information and matching it against a database that we're going to start building of facts, truths that we know.

"We sort of know what politicians are going to say around maybe some of the debates or campaign speeches, and we can match those to our database because that's an ever growing thing.


Read more at journalism.co.uk

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.