JOUREDIS will offer a workshop series aimed at developing digital journalism skills needed to address misinformation. The series is aimed at journalists and journalism or communication studies students and will take place between February and May 2022. Participation is free of charge.

Participants will have the opportunity to take part in workshops that will equip them with skills needed to engage with mobile journalism, writing for social media, live blogging and fact-checking.

Workshop 1 | Journalism in action: Developing competencies for mobile journalism

Date: 24 February 2022, 16:00-18:00 (online)
Guest speaker: Dr Nikolas Dietis, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology at the Medical School, University of Cyprus
Trainer: Christiana Varda, Research Associate and PhD Student at the Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology

The pandemic has laid bare the value and relevance of accurately reporting science in the media, especially for controversial topics that may be prone to misinformation (e.g., COVID-19 vaccinations, climate change). This is not without its challenges, considering that journalists often need to translate complex scientific findings into comprehensible stories that a general, lay audience can understand. This workshop will look at the common challenges that journalists face when reporting on socio-scientific issues and will focus on a journalist’s most accessible asset: their mobile device. Participants will explore how to make the most of their mobile devices to deliver “social-first” stories that can be shared with audiences directly and that create new forms of storytelling to engage with online users. The workshop will also present best practices for communicating science effectively, and ways in which misinformation can more effectively be corrected on social media. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to explore a tool that allows drafting, scheduling and monitoring engagement on threaded social media posts on Twitter.

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Workshop 2 | Let the data do the talking: Tools and good practices for data journalism

Date: 10 March 2022, 16:00-18:00 (online)
Guest speaker: Dr Costas Christophi, Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health (CII) at the Cyprus University of Technology and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Occupational and Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Trainer: Christiana Varda, Research Associate and PhD Student at the Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology

The pandemic has inundated the public with data on a daily basis: the number of daily COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, deaths. But how can access to so much data be harnessed to engage audiences and help them make informed decisions based on evidence? Making issues that relate to environmental and health usable, accessible and comprehensible is important, as is often communicating the risks, especially for topics such as climate change or the recent technological developments in vaccines. This workshop will focus on how data journalism can help journalists tell a complex story in an engaging way. Participants will learn best practices for visualizing data using infographics. They will also explore a tool that could be used to create data visualizations, as well as a tool that helps journalists track data on the spread of misinformation on Twitter.

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Workshop 3 | Communicating science and the power of the crowd in digital journalism

Date: 17 March 2022, 16:00-18:00 (online)
Guest speaker: Dr Myrtani Pieri, Assistant Professor in Human Physiology, Department of Life and Health Sciences, School of Sciences and Engineering, University of Nicosia
Trainer: Christiana Varda, Research Associate and PhD Student at the Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology

The popularity of social media and the increasing reliance on the internet to access information has reshaped how journalism is conducted and how news reaches audiences. The online context provides ample opportunities to engage in dialogue with experts, as well as other professionals; the same context can also allow journalists to interact with audiences in order to gain insights regarding their own scientific concerns or interests. This workshop will first present basic communication principles for communicating science effectively to a general non-expert audience. Following this participants will have the opportunity to become familiarized with crowdsourcing as a tool that can foster professional collaboration between journalists, between experts and journalists, or between journalists and the audience.

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Workshop 4 | Engaging readers through live blogging

Date: 7 April 2022, 16:00-18:00 (online)
Guest speaker: Dr Konstantinos Makris, Associate Professor of Environmental Health, Cyprus International Institute for Environmental and Public Health, Cyprus University of Technology
Trainer: Christiana Varda, Research Associate and PhD Student at the Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology

Ready access to immediate information online, has increased audiences’ voracity for news as it happens. However, in an ongoing flow of online information which values speed over reflection, there can be a blurring of the line between evidence-based reporting and speculation. Reporting on science can be challenging, especially for issues which seem to be far removed from citizens’ daily concerns. How science is communicated, especially on social media, can influence what people think about and how they act in response to a scientific issue. This can have tremendous consequences for issues that affect societies at large.

Humanizing science stories, and grounding scientific evidence in people’s everyday experiences can amplify the impact of news stories, especially when it comes to environmental stories. In this workshop we will explore how evidence-based approaches can connect the environment with public health. Additionally, we will examine the value of balancing what is known and what is uncertain about an evolving scientific issue or a breaking news story during a live blogging event.

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Workshop 5 | Fact-checking as a means of addressing misinformation and its role in contemporary journalism

Date: 5 May 2022, 16:00-18:00 (online)
Guest speakers: Andronikos Koutroumbelis & Stamos Archontis, Fact Checkers at Ellinika Ηoaxes
Trainer: Christiana Varda, Research Associate and PhD Student at the Department of Communication and Internet Studies, Cyprus University of Technology

In this workshop we will explain what the term fact-checking entails at a practical level, and how a modern fact-checking team operates. We will also present the tools used for verifying information and the dangers that emerge from misinformative contexts such as the pandemic. We will also elaborate on how Facebook’s third party fact-checking program (3PFC) operates, and the misconceptions that exist around the role that different groups on social media play (e.g. fact-checkers, journalists, news organizations). Finally, there will be a discussion with the public to clarify concepts related to the fact-checking process and to resolve any questions that may arise during the presentation.

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