The Relevance of Technology to Information Verification: Insights from Norwegian Journalism During a National Election
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Growing concerns about disinformation have led to the development of new digital tools and systems designed for journalists’ verification and fact-checking needs. Despite these technological developments, research has demonstrated that emerging technologies are not utilised as often and are not as highly valued as industry narratives suggest. There are indications that the typical journalist values traditional skills such as writing and interviewing higher than digital technology skills and that many journalists do not consider the new tools to be very useful in their everyday work. This article takes on a sociotechnical approach to study the interplay between journalists, technology, organisational and professional routines. Specifically, we examine journalists’ use of verification technologies to detect disinformation during an election period. Our findings show a discrepancy between the alleged potential of new technologies and the everyday practices of newswork and fact-checking – also in the digitally advanced Norwegian media industry. We found tensions between established routines and cultures in the newsroom and the push for the renewal of journalistic methods which can be sorted under two headings: strategy vs. practice and proximity vs. distance to the beat and sources.