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News Impact Summit London

Trolls, Corruption, Falsehood: Reporting 'Truth' in the Digital Age


  1. Following the successful event in London last year, we went back to the British capital for the second time on Thursday 12 May 2016. Just as last year, the European Journalism Centre (EJC) and the Google News Lab have partnered with Polis at London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE). 200+ journalists, students, editors and media experts joined an inspiring day with a full of sessions with key international and national speakers covering the theme: Trolls, Corruption, Falsehood: Reporting 'Truth' in the Digital Age.
  2. In the changing digital environment, it has become a bigger issue to define the meaning of "truth"; journalists are urged to verify and factcheck in order to report accurately. We are witnessing the rise of automation and bots usage by the governments and political actors for trolling individuals and manipulating the public discourse on social networks. Journalists are also urged to report politics in an accurate, fair manner considering the role media plays during elections and referendum. How is media shaping the public discourse by selectively reporting about certain issues such as migration, and also using the term "Brexit"?
  3. Yet, in the era of digitally connected society, new possibilities also arise and projects like the Panama Papers investigation appear on the other side of the coin. An all star line-up of speakers joined us during this year's summit to open up the debates on the new forms of information war, online harassment, collaborative investigation, fact-checking and many other issues.
  4. Speakers:
  5. - Charlie Beckett, Director of Polis, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
    - Gerard Ryle, Director, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)
    - Jessikka Aro, Investigative Reporter, YLE Kioski
    - Matt Cooke, European lead for the Google News Lab
    - Mar Cabra, Head of Data & Research Unit, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)
    - Peter Pomerantsev, Senior Fellow, Legatum Institute
    - Samuel Woolley, Project Manager of ComProp, Oxford Internet Institute & University of Washington

    - Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Director of Research, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism
    - Soraya Chemaly, Director, WMC Speech Project
    - Raphael Satter, Journalist, The Associated Press
    - Will Moy, Director, Full Fact
    - Michelle Ferrier, Associate Dean for Innovation, Scripps College of Communication, Ohio University
    - Alison Powell, Programme Director of Media and Communication, London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
    - Juliette Garside, Financial Reporter, The Guardian
    - Mark Lee Hunter, Adjunct Professor & Senior Research Fellow, INSEAD
    - James Melley, Investigative Journalist, BBC Panorama
    - Wilfried Ruetten, Director, European Journalism Centre
    - Becky Gardiner, Senior Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London

    - Dhiraj Murthy, Reader of Sociology, Goldsmiths, University of London
    - Sydette Harry, Community Lead of The Coral Project, Mozilla Foundation

    - Joseph O’Leary, Senior Researcher, Full Fact
    - Amy Sippitt, Senior Researcher, Full Fact
    - Helena Bengtsson, Editor for the Data Projects, The Guardian
    - Conor James McKinney, Senior Researcher, Full Fact
    - Julia Ziemer, Executive Manager, Polis at London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)
    - Fergus Bell, Journalist and Editor, Dig Deeper Media
    - Rina Tsubaki, Project Manager, European Journalism Centre
    - Mattia Peretti, Project Coordinator, European Journalism Centre
  6. As in the previous edition of the News Impact Summit in London, the EJC and the Google News Lab joined forces with Polis to co-organise the event. We also partnered with the following four outstanding organisations:
  7. Partners:
  8. The success of the summit would have not been possible without their support and collaboration, so we want to give big thank you to all of them and to everyone who was somehow involved in making #NISLON happen.
  9. Sessions:
  11. The event was opened with a few words by European Journalism Centre’s organiser Rina Tsubaki (@wildflyingpanda) and the EJC’s Director, Wilfried Ruetten, who welcomed the participants and introduced the work of the EJC, the News Impact Series and the media-funding project Innovation in Development Reporting Grant Programme (IDR). Then, Charlie Beckett (@CharlieBeckett), professor and Director of Polis, took the floor and commented on the current state of journalism. Beckett noted that “journalism has never been weaker”, referring to the big amounts of misinformation and spam that flood the public sphere and yet, he pointed that journalism is also stronger than ever before in terms of access to Big Data, which brings transparency and makes possible projects like the Panama Papers.
  12. From the Google News Lab, Matt Cooke (@mattcooke_uk), presented the tools and services that the News Lab develops and offers to the journalism community: Google Search, Trends and Maps, among many others, which would be explained further in his workshop session. Moreover, Matt introduced Project Shield, a fantastic initiative that tackles Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and protects news sites and online free expression.
  13. Panama Papers, Data and Investigation - News Impact Summit London
  15. We kicked-off the programme with a powerful and still burning topic: the Panama Papers. And we did so with a excellent line-up of panelists who have been involved in the investigation and publication of the Mossack Fonseca's leak from the very beginning. We had the privilege to have Gerard Ryle (@RyleGerard), Director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ); Juliette Garside (@JulietteGarside), who is a Financial Reporter for The Guardian and the BBC's journalist James Melley (@jamesmelley. The moderator for this panel was Mar Cabra (@cabralens), Head of Data & Research Unit at the ICIJ.
  16. Panama Papers - The Secrets of Dirty Money
  17. The Panama Papers started with an anonymous source leaking 2.6 terabytes of data - including emails, passport scans, contracts and so on - to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and then they shared the information with the ICIJ. Gerard Ryle explained the challenges of investigating the biggest leak in history, for which the ICIJ coordinated the "biggest journalism collaboration in history". They had to start from scratch, building the necessary technological infrastructure to allow a team of around 400 journalists from more than 100 media organisations to work together, in secrecy but sharing everything among them.