Every Thursday in March, fact-checkers, journalists and students are invited to take a break from their daily lives and face a common challenge: Combating disinformation. These meetings are part of the Empowering the Truth Global Summit, part of the three-year "Disarming Disinformation" initiative led by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ).
Faced with the reality that misinformation spreads much faster than real facts, this conference seeks to encourage fact-checkers and fact-checking journalists to explore different formats to reach other audiences and communities, and thus counteract the speed of misinformation.
The weekly sessions of the Global Summit are specially designed for participants from six regions of the world. In addition to Latin America, the Conference seeks to reach fact-checkers from North America, Central and West Africa, Central Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, as well as South and Southeast Asia.
Through regional experts in one-and-a-half hour meetings, participants will learn skills to expand the dissemination of verified facts. In five different languages, depending on the region, participants will be taught topics such as audio/podcasts, video, content design, strategic communications, and audience engagement.
"We want is to provide these tools to the people who already do this fact-checking work. To provide them with these more hands-on sessions to adapt content to other formats, [so they can] reach other audiences, other communities," Desirée Esquivel, Community Manager for the ICFJ Global Crisis Forum, told LatAm Journalism Review (LJR).
For the Latin American region and in Spanish, the first weekly meeting will be held on March 2, led by Sara Trejos. She is the manager and founder of Presunto Podcast of Colombia, producer of Armchair Experts and member of Podcastinación. Trejos will facilitate the session "Fighting disinformation with podcasts," where she will discuss how to adapt verified information to podcasts that can go viral.
The other meetings of the Conference for Latin America will be facilitated by John Ospina, deputy director of digital platforms at Radio Universidad de Guadalajara. He will offer the session "Techniques to make videos and combat disinformation.” Juan Heilborn, visual editor of the Paraguayan site El Surtidor, will offer the session "Design your data content to publish your fact-checking." Laura Zommer, general manager at Chequeado in Argentina, will offer the session "Alliances and strategic communication." And, finally, Kelly Morales, independent consultant, will offer the session "I want my content to go viral and have an impact: Instagram and Tik Tok strategies."
"We should point out that this conference is not for beginners. It is for people who already do this fact-checking work and need a nudge to navigate other formats, to be able to adapt their content to other formats and other audiences," Esquivel said.
For example, for the topic of alliances and after the experience gained from other initiatives, they realized the need to work with so-called influencers, people who create content and sometimes unintentionally misinform in search of clicks and virality.
"We want to work with them a bit as well. Reach journalists, fact-checkers, but we also [want to have] the opportunity to be able to work with them. To be able to transform their figure and really make them influencers in the good sense of the word," Esquivel said.
In addition to the 35 sessions of the World Conference, the initiative wants to go on with a second part. In this second phase, participants may be eligible to receive funding to enable them to carry out innovative multimedia projects that could make facts go viral.
"When this conference is over, we will post the application form for them to apply for the grant and have a chance to win. So far, although it may vary, we have five scholarships per language," Esquivel said.
Cristina Tardáguila, ICFJ senior program director in charge of the initiative, pointed out the importance of this conference, especially because it is the first year of the three-year initiative. All World Conference sessions will be online at 3 p.m. EST and require pre-registration.
"The conference has three goals: The first is to find and support (with funding) innovative ideas that are able to make the facts, the real data, go further, be as attractive as falsehoods," Tardáguila told LJR. "The second goal is to create a global community willing to confront disinformation from this perspective. The third is, obviously, to establish a global, annual event where people can stop for a few hours to think about new strategies."
All sessions of the Global Summit in Spanish will be online at 4:00 p.m. EST and require pre-registration. In addition to Spanish, the conference will take place in Arabic, French, Hungarian, and English. Anyone can register for any session regardless of region.
The Disarming Disinformation initiative is led by ICFJ with core funding from the Scripps Howard Foundation. The Pamela Howard Forum is in charge of executing and organizing the Global Summit for the Americas, Middle East and Africa.