For the News Lab, elections are opportunities to empower journalists with the technology and data they need to keep their readers informed. For the German election on September 24th, our efforts are formed around three key themes: promoting accurate content, offering data that provides helpful context, and surfacing unheard voices.
Guiding all of these efforts is a spirit of experimentation and collaboration with news partners to address the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities digital reporting presents.
Promoting accurate content
On September 4th, alongside Facebook, we began helping two organizations—First Draft and Correctiv—monitor misleading information during the German election. First Draft is a coalition of organizations dedicated to improving skills and standards in the reporting and sharing of information that emerges online. Correctiv is the first nonprofit investigative newsroom in the German-speaking world. Its fact-checking team started a few months ago and is a member of the International Fact Checking Network.
As a part of our partnership with Corrective, we funded and supported a team of journalists from across Germany called WahlCheck17 (Election Check 17). The team will work in a pop-up newsroom opened at the Corrective office to verify and fact-check online news stories and conversations in real-time during the final few weeks before the election. The team includes fact-checking experts from First Draft and Corrective, experienced students and graduates from the Hamburg Media School, and freelance journalists.
In the same vein as First Draft’s work on CrossCheck in France and our partnership with Full Fact during the UK general election in May, the WahlCheck17 team will alert German newsrooms by publishing a daily newsletter that lists the most popular rumors, manipulated photos and videos, and misleading articles and data visualizations circulating online, and offers additional context on the sources.
Using Trends to offer additional context
Google Trends offers insight into the candidates, parties, and moments that dominate the election campaign. Our new Google Trends election hub highlights search interest in top political issues and parties, with embeddable graphics that show what people across Germany have been most interested in throughout the election campaign.
2Q17, a unique data visualization created by the renowned data designer Moritz Stefaner, depicts queries that Germans are searching for in relation to the top candidates. This project is part of Google News Lab’s series of visual experiments to develop innovative and interactive storytelling formats to cover important news moments.
Surfacing unheard voices
During the French presidential election, the News Lab partnered with a publisher to surface the views of voters across France in 360. Now we’re working with Euronews on a similar project to surface unheard voices in Germany. In partnership with German regional media outlets, who will provide context on the socioeconomic conditions of their respective regions, this project will provide an immersive journey through Germany in the weeks leading up to the election. Watch the first episode starring Masih Rahimi, an Afghan migrant and IT trainee living in Passau.
At the News Lab, we strongly believe in the importance of quality journalism and the power of collaboration between tech and media companies to strengthen it. During elections, this is more important than ever. If you want to find out more about Google‘s efforts for the German election read our German blog.