The when, why, how and so-what of verifications

Aviv Barnoy, Zvi Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The media’s capacity to maintain its role as an institution for public knowledge is growingly dependent on its capacity to verify information effectively, especially in times of growing mis/dis and mal information. To explore the epistemic role of verifications, covering their frequencies, predictors and underlying motivations, procedures, and contribution to reporters’ knowledge, this study combines qualitative and quantitative reconstruction interviews, comparing verified and non-verified items. Findings show that verifications are driven primarily by reporters’ risk and opportunity calculations. The frequency of verifications remains surprisingly stable, yet this steadiness might be misleading, as we found and typified different kinds of verifications: from the shallow efforts to reduce risk and enhance the precision of technical details, to the ambitious but scarce attempts to convey conflict and conduct investigations. In epistemic terms, reporters are anti-reductionists, setting a low epistemic bar, which allows them to rely on sources by default, as long as there are no “defeaters” (=counterbeliefs or counterevidence) inviting verification.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)2312-2330
Number of pages19
JournalJournalism Studies
Issue number16
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2019


  • Epistemology
  • journalistic practices
  • knowledge
  • mix method
  • news reporters
  • news sources
  • typification
  • verification

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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