Discerning the truth in a world of punditry and sourc-ery

I’m throwing the lecture schedule out the window this week to bring a guest to class tomorrow and to let us all tune into an event on Thursday.

Tomorrow, Aaron Sharockman, the editor of PunditFact.com, a project of the Tampa Bay Times, will join us for a conversation about fact-checking. Most of you should by now be familiar with PolitiFact, which fact-checks the veracity of statements by politicians.

PunditFact, which is an outgrowth of PolitiFact, is “dedicated to checking the accuracy of claims by pundits, columnists, bloggers, political analysts, the hosts and guests of talk shows, and other members of the media.”

Both of these journalism projects provide a crucial service at a time when news staffs are shrinking and the claims of politicians, administration officials and so-called “experts” seem increasingly unfettered by fact.

Here’s the other thing: Both of these projects bring a sense of fun to a very serious pursuit, and we can all learn a lot from that (it is possible to be both effective and engaging).

Thursday: We will be live streaming a discussion about media coverage of the Ferguson protests from the Online News Association meeting in Chicago. Participants include David Carson, staff photographer with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Trymaine Lee, national reporter, MSNBC; Wesley Lowery, political reporter, The Washington Post; Mariah Stewart, a free-lancer with the Huffington Post / Beacon Reader; and Claire Ward, a producer/shooter with VICE News. Michel Martin, a host with NPR, will moderate the discussion.

If all goes according to plan, it should be really interesting.

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