Maldita.es and Chequeado, the first fact-checking organization in the Global South based in Argentina, launch Factchequeado, a digital verification media that seeks to build a community of Hispanics and Latinos to counter disinformation in Spanish in the United States.
This collaborative initiative promotes alliances with Spanish and English-language media - large and small - and fact-checking organizations to encourage listening to the various communities and the circulation of verified content in Spanish.
The collaboration led by Factchequeado already has nine allies in six states throughout the United States: Conexión Migrante, Documented, Univision's ElDetector, Enlace Latino NC, Factcheck.org, La Esquina, MediaWise, Politifact and Telemundo's T-Verifies.
What is Factchequeado?
Factchequeado is a hub based in the United States which seeks to promote fact-checking and combat disinformation in Spanish in the United States through journalistic and educational initiatives.
Designed as a collaborative initiative, Factchqueado will create partnerships with Spanish and English-language media and fact-checking organizations across the country, both large and small. Overall, the main goals of the project are to encourage media organizations to listen to diverse communities and promote the circulation of verified content in Spanish.
Why is this project so important?
Both organizations are known for the innovative ways in which they engage their audiences, create proactive communities, develop civic technology, and foster collaboration among journalists. In 2021, Maldita.es and Chequeado joined forces to use their fact-checking expertise to fill the information gap that has particularly impacted Spanish speakers in the U.S. during the pandemic. Due to a lack of verified news in their dominant language, Spanish-speaking communities in the U.S. are especially vulnerable to mis- and disinformation. Currently, there are approximately 60 million Hispanics and Latinos living in the U.S. By 2030, this group will represent more than 20% of the country's population.
A 2020 Pew Research Center study shows that, even though these communities identify themselves in different ways, the Spanish language is a central characteristic for all of them, more so than having Latino parents or heritage, or socializing with other members of their particular Latino community.
"We’re partnering with Spanish and English-language media organizations of interest to the Hispanic and Latino community throughout the United States. With this approach, we’re aware that this community is not a monolith, that it is diverse, multigenerational. This population is often bilingual and speaks with many accents, sometimes even in indigenous languages. Above all, this community does not have access to verified information in its preferred language. In the U.S., there are few fact-checking initiatives available in Spanish and there aren’t clear policies to counteract the disinformation that circulates. That’s where Factchequeado comes in, to build a fact-checking network, strengthening partner organizations through both content and community," said Natalia Guerrero, managing editor of Factchequeado.
Laura Zommer, the executive and journalism director at Chequeado, who is also a cofounder of Factchequeado, said: "We believe that journalism is a public service and that today, it’s either collaborative, or it isn’t. Due to the lack of verified Spanish-language news in the U.S., Factchequeado will help unify fact-checking efforts happening around the country. This project will also allow our partners and us to better understand how disinformation in Spanish circulates, as well as listen to and work with Latino communities so they can recognize whether the content they receive and share is true or false," she said.
According to Clara Jiménez Cruz, who is the CEO and cofounder of Maldita.es, as well as a cofounder of Factchequeado, "over the years, Chequeado and Maldita.es have invested many resources and countless hours into understanding our communities, finding innovative formats and tools to better reach Spanish-speaking audiences. Factchequeado is built on those experiences, we have learned what doesn’t work, as well as what does, in both Spain and Latin America. Coming into this project, we believe we are in a good starting place to know what can work for U.S. Latino and Hispanic communities as well."
In addition to producing fact-checked content and explainers, Factchequeado will be a space to provide training on fact-checking to U.S. journalists, with a focus on bilingual Spanish/English reporters. It will also be a space for participating newsrooms to experiment with new formats for information and new technology that will help them more effectively disprove untruthful content that impacts Latinos and Spanish speakers. The content, research, and lessons learned from Factchequeado and its partners will also make up a database for academics interested in investigating disinformation in Spanish in the United States. The first phase of Factchequeado is supported by the Google News Initiative.
If you want to know more about this project, become an ally, or even a funder, you can contact us at [email protected].