Here’s a great idea for newspapers everywhere: Turn fact-checking into a fun animated GIF. It’s kind of a face-palm, why-isn’t-this-happening-everywhere moment, actually. And that’s why it’s a great idea – because of it’s surprising simplicity.

  1. Animated GIFs tend to get more engagement in social media
  2. You want as many people as possible to see/share fact-checking information on social media
  3. Turn fact checking statements into an animated GIF

Poynter published a great read this week about the Argentinian newspaper Chequeado who partnered with a popular digital property, UNO, to produce the GIFs, which are distributed by UNO on Twitter and Facebook. Is it working?

A simple comparison shows that GIF-carrying tweets did better every time except once, even though they were published at least a day and sometimes a week after the first tweet and the fact checks themselves.”

Voila! It’s a beautiful example of focusing on methods to maximize the transmission of vital information for channels beyond a website in order to reach the largest possible audience. IMHO, it represents a big step forward in news industry mentality. Even though it’s probably still a ways off from adoption in most newsrooms, it’s an example of how newspapers need to be thinking. And it’s effectiveness as a strategy gets added to the heaps of real-world validation we’ve seen for the type of thinking and strategies that The War on Stupid has been trying to support and encourage since our inception.

If you want to keep digging into the difficulties for fact-checking in the 21st century’s fragmented media landscape, check out this TWOS post from a few months ago, “Fact Checking in the New Information Age.”

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