Bringing journalism back to its roots: examining fact-checking practices, methods, and challenges in the Mediterranean context



Palabras clave:

Fact-checking, Fake news, Disinformation, Journalism, Verification, Mediterranean, Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Challenges, Filtering, Filters


The rise of fact-checking as an innovative tool aimed at improving democratic well-being has become a transnational movement in journalism. In June 2021, the Duke Reporters’ Lab database features 341 such initiatives around the world, including 33 active fact-checking projects in countries pertaining to the Mediterranean or Polarized Pluralist Model (Hallin; Mancini, 2004). Following previous research on fact-checking in other territories, this qualitative study expands the understanding of how this practice is performed by four platforms of countries belonging to this journalistic culture: (Spain), Les Surligneurs (France), Observador (Portugal), and Pagella Politica (Italy). Through in-depth interviews with their decision-makers, this work offers a deep understanding of the structure, agenda, practices, and values, the role of the public, and the challenges that these organizations face. Normally run by small but multidisciplinary teams, the studied initiatives show high levels of transparency and a tendency for continuous improvement and professionalization despite their limitations. Following the example of leading initiatives in the USA, the UK, Latin America and Europe, the analyzed organizations cover a wide range of thematic areas and make use of the latest digital tools. They employ robust methodologies when selecting the content they verify, consult an extensive range of sources, and set various control filters before publication, which proves their commitment to transparency and accountability. Furthermore, they guarantee the right of reply and are widely open to public participation and broader dissemination of their work through mainstream media. From difficulties in accessing public information to scarcity of resources and increased competition, fact-checking platforms in the Mediterranean context face major challenges that have forced them to rethink their role and find new revenue streams. These organizations highlight the need to enhance the impact of fact-checking among citizens, journalists, and politicians and, ultimately, to go back to the roots of journalism.


Aguaded, Ignacio; Romero-Rodríguez, Luis-Miguel (2015). “Mediamorfosis y desinformación en la infoesfera: Alfabetización mediática, digital e informacional ante los cambios de hábitos de consumo informativo”. Education in the knowledge society, v. 16, n. 1, pp. 44-57.

Allcott, Hunt; Gentzkow, Matthew (2017). “Social media and fake news in the 2016 election”. Journal of economic perspectives, v. 31, n. 2, pp. 211-236.

Amazeen, Michelle A. (2020). “Journalistic interventions: The structural factors affecting the global emergence of fact-checking”. Journalism, v. 21, n. 1, pp. 95-111.

Bertrand, Claude-Jean (2018). Media ethics and accountability systems. New York: Routledge. ISBN: 978 1 138511989

Bigot, Laurent (2018). “Un nouveau rapport de forces entre journalistes et politiques: le fact-checking”. Hermès, la revue, v. 82, n. 3, pp. 112-119.

Brandtzaeg, Petter B.; Følstad, Asbjørn; Chaparro-Domínguez, María-Ángeles (2018). “How journalists and social media users perceive online fact-checking and verification services”. Journalism practice, v. 12, n. 9, pp. 1109-1129.

Cavaliere, Paolo (2021). “From journalistic ethics to fact-checking practices: defining the standards of content governance in the fight against disinformation”. Journal of media law, v. 12, n. 2, pp. 133-165.

Cin, Firdevs-Melis; Madge, Clare; Long, Dianne; Breines, Markus; Dalu, Mwazvita T. B. (2021). “Transnational online research: recognising multiple contexts in Skype-to-phone interviews”. Qualitative research, Online first.

Cinelli, Matteo; Quattrociocchi, Walter; Galeazzi, Alessandro; Valensise, Carlo-Michele; Brugnoli, Emanuele; Schmidt, Ana-Lucia; Zola, Paola; Zollo, Fabiana; Scala, Antonio (2020). “The Covid-19 social media infodemic”. Scientific reports, n. 7, e16598.

Figueira, João; Santos, Sílvio (2019). “Percepción de las noticias falsas en universitarios de Portugal: análisis de su consumo y actitudes”. El profesional de la información, v. 28, n. 3, e280315.

García-Marín, David (2020). “Infodemia global. Desórdenes informativos, narrativas fake y fact-checking en la crisis de la Covid-19”. Profesional de la información, v. 29, n. 4, e290411.

García-Vivero, Gloria; López-García, Xosé (2021). “La verificación de datos en Europa. Análisis de 5 iniciativas europeas:, Newtral, Pagella Politica, Les Décodeurs y BBC Reality Check”. AdComunica, n. 21, pp. 235-264.

Graves, Lucas (2013). Deciding what’s true: Fact-checking journalism and the new ecology of news. Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University.

Graves, Lucas (2016). “Boundaries not drawn: Mapping the institutional roots of the global fact checking movement”. Journalism studies, v. 19, n. 5, pp. 613-631.

Graves, Lucas (2017). “Anatomy of a fact check: Objective practice and the contested epistemology of fact checking”. Communication, culture & critique, v. 10, n. 3, pp. 518-537.

Graves, Lucas; Anderson, C. W. (2020). “Discipline and promote: Building infrastructure and managing algorithms in a ‘structured journalism’ project by professional fact-checking groups”. New media and society, v. 22, n. 2, pp. 342-360.

Graves, Lucas; Cherubini, Federica (2016). The rise of factchecking sites in Europe. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Graves, Lucas; Nyhan, Brendan; Reifler, Jason (2016). “Understanding innovations in journalistic practice: A field experiment examining motivations for fact-checking”. Journal of communication, v. 66, n. 1, pp. 102-138.

Hallin, Daniel C.; Mancini, Paolo (2004). Comparing media systems. Three models of media and politics. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978 0 511790867

Hartley, Kris; Vu, Minh-Khuong (2020). “Fighting fake news in the Covid-19 era: policy insights from an equilibrium model”. Policy sciences, v. 53, pp. 735-758.

Humprecht, Edda (2020). “How do they debunk ‘fake news’? A cross-national comparison of transparency in fact checks”. Digital journalism, v. 8, n. 3, pp. 310-327.

Janesick, Valerie J. (2015). “Peer debriefing”. In: Ritzer, George (ed.). The Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Kuś, Michal; Barczyszyn-Madziarz, Paulina (2020). “Fact-checking initiatives as promoters of media and information literacy: The case of Poland”. Central European journal of communication, v. 13, n. 2, pp. 249-265.

Lamprou, Evangelos; Antonopoulos, Nikos; Anomeritou, Iouliani; Apostolou, Chrysoula (2021). “Characteristics of fake news and misinformation in Greece: The rise of new crowdsourcing-based journalistic fact-checking models”. Journal. media, v. 2, n. 3, pp. 417-439.

Lewandowsky, Stephan; Ecker, Ullrich K. H.; Cook, John (2017). “Beyond misinformation: Understanding and coping with the ‘post-truth’ era”. Journal of applied research in memory and cognition, v. 6, n. 4, pp. 353-369.

Lo-Iacono, Valeria; Symonds, Paul; Brown, David H. K. (2016). “Skype as a tool for qualitative research interviews”. Sociological research online, v. 21, n. 2, pp. 103-117.

López-García, Xosé; Costa-Sánchez, Carmen; Vizoso, Ángel (2021). “Journalistic fact-checking of information in pandemic: Stakeholders, hoaxes, and strategies to fight disinformation during the Covid-19 crisis in Spain”. International journal of environmental research and public health, v. 18, n. 3, e1227.

López-Pan, Fernando; Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Jorge-Miguel (2020). “El fact checking en España. Plataformas, prácticas y rasgos distintivos”. Estudios sobre el mensaje periodístico, v. 26, n. 3, pp. 1045-1065.

Lowrey, Wilson (2017). “The emergence and development of news fact-checking sites: Institutional logics and population ecology”. Journalism studies, v. 18, n. 3, pp. 376-394.

Mantzarlis, Alexios (2018). “Fact-checking 101”. In: Ireton, Cherilyn; Posetti, Julie (eds.). Journalism, fake news & disinformation: Handbook for journalism education and training Paris: Unesco, pp. 85-100.

Mauri-Ríos, Marcel; Ramon-Vegas, Xavier (2015). “Nuevos sistemas de rendición de cuentas de la información periodística. Exploración del escenario online español”. El profesional de la información, v. 24, n.4, pp. 380-389.

Mauri-Ríos, Marcel; Ramon-Vegas, Xavier; Rodríguez-Martínez, Ruth (2020). “Cobertura mediática de la crisis de la Covid-19: recomendaciones y propuestas de autorregulación”. Profesional de la información, v. 29, n. 6, e290622.

Mena, Paul (2019). “Principles and boundaries of fact-checking: Journalists’ perceptions”. Journalism practice, v. 13, n. 6, pp. 657-672.

Moreno-Gil, Victoria; Ramon-Vegas, Xavier; Rodríguez-Martínez, Ruth (2021). “Fact-checking interventions as counteroffensives to disinformation growth: Standards, values, and practices in Latin America and Spain”. Media and communication, v. 9, n. 1, pp. 251-263.

Nakov, Preslav; Corney, David; Hasanain, Maram; Alam, Firoj; Elsayed, Tamer; Barrón-Cedeño, Alberto; Papotti, Paolo; Shaar, Shaden; Da-San-Martino, Giovanni (2021). “Automated fact-checking for assisting human fact-checkers”. In: Proceedings of the thirtieth international joint conference on artificial intelligence (IJCAI 2021), pp. 4551-4558.

Nicey, Jérémie (2020). “Les pratiques de fact-checking journalistique participatif, entre contraintes et intérêts”. Interfaces numériques, v. 9, n. 2, e4283.

Nielsen, Ramus K. (2016). “The many crises of Western journalism: A comparative analysis of economic crises, professional crises, and crises of confidence”. In: Alexander, Jeffrey C.; Breese, Elizabeth B.; Luengo, María (eds.). The crisis of journalism reconsidered: Democratic culture, professional codes, digital future. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978 1 107448513

Nieminen, Sakari; Rapeli, Lauri (2019). “Fighting misperceptions and doubting journalists’ objectivity: A review of fact-checking literature”. Political studies review, v. 17, n. 3, pp. 296-309.

Palau-Sampio, Dolors (2018). “Fact-checking and scrutiny of power: Supervision of public discourses in new media platforms from Latin America”. Communication and society, v. 31, n. 3, pp. 347-365.

Palomo, Bella; Sedano, Jon (2018). “WhatsApp como herramienta de verificación de fake news. El caso de B de Bulo”. Revista latina de comunicación social, n. 73, pp. 1384-1397.

Póvoa-Cazetta, Jhonny; Reis, Ana-Isabel (2019). “As fontes dos serviços de fact-checking luso-brasileiros”. Comunicação pública, v. 14, n. 27.

Reuters Institute (2021). Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2021. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

Riera, Ariel; Zommer, Laura (2020). “Using fact checking to improve information systems in Argentina”. The political quarterly, v. 91, n. 3, pp. 600-604.

Rodríguez-Pérez, Carlos; Paniagua-Rojano, Francisco-Javier; Magallón-Rosa, Raúl (2021). “Debunking political disinformation through journalists’ perceptions: An analysis of Colombia’s fact-checking news practices”. Media and communication, v. 9, n. 1, pp. 264-275.

Rojas-Torrijos, José-Luis; Ramon-Vegas, Xavier (2017). “Accountability in social networks. Ever-evolving stylebooks and feedback through Twitter”. Revista latina de comunicación social, n. 72, pp. 915-940.

Silverman, Craig (2015). Lies, damn lies and viral content. How news websites spread (and debunk) online rumors, unverified claims and misinformation. Columbia: Columbia Journalism School, Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

Singer, Jane B. (2021). “Border patrol: The rise and role of fact-checkers and their challenge to journalists’ normative boundaries”. Journalism, v. 22, n. 8, 1929-1946.

Stencel, Mark; Luther, Joel (2021). “Fact-checking census shows slower growth”. Poynter, June 3.

Tracy, Sarah J. (2020). Qualitative research methods. Collecting evidence, crafting analysis, communicating impact. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley Blackwell. ISBN: 978 1 405192026

Tuñón-Navarro, Jorge; Oleart, Álvaro; Bouza-García, Luis (2019). “Actores europeos y desinformación: la disputa entre el factchecking, las agendas alternativas y la geopolítica”. Revista de comunicación, v. 18, n. 2, pp. 245-260.

Ufarte-Ruiz, María-José; Anzera, Guisseppe; Murcia-Verdú, Francisco-José (2020). “Plataformas independientes de fact-checking en España e Italia. Características, organización y método”. Revista mediterránea de comunicación, v. 11, n. 2, pp. 23-39.

Usher, Nikki (2018). “Breaking news production processes in US metropolitan newspapers: Immediacy and journalistic authority”. Journalism, v. 19, n. 1, pp. 21-36.

Viscardi, Janaisa M. (2020). “True and lie according to Jair Bolsonaro’s Twitter account”. Trabalhos em linguística aplicada, v. 59, n. 2, pp. 1134-1157.

Vizoso, Ángel; Vázquez-Herrero, Jorge (2019). “Factchecking platforms in Spanish: Features, organization and method”. Communication and society, v. 32, n. 1, pp. 127-142.

Wardle, Claire; Derakhshan, Hossein (2017). Information disorder. Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policy making. Council of Europe report DGI (2017)09.

Wimmer, Roger D.; Dominick, Joseph R. (2013). Mass media research: An introduction. Belmont, California: Cengage Learning. ISBN: 978 1 133307334




Cómo citar

Moreno-Gil, V., Ramon-Vegas, X., & Mauri-Ríos, M. (2022). Bringing journalism back to its roots: examining fact-checking practices, methods, and challenges in the Mediterranean context. Profesional De La Información, 31(2).



Artículos de investigación / Research articles


La descarga de datos todavía no está disponible.


Cargando métricas ...