Our 2023 classroom visit dates:
Spring: 27 February – 30 April
Summer: 15 May – 15 July
Winter: 1 November – 20 December
To request a visit, email email@example.com.
Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for regular updates on community happenings, our participation in policy discussions, journalist and teacher training workshops, media coverage and opportunities to participate in our work.
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An investigation into fake news
Lie Detectors helped the young FINNreporters tackle the challenge of fake news.
Diversifying funding for Media Literacy
Join our webinar on diversified funding for non-profit media literacy organisations.
2022 in review
More countries, more journalists, more teachers and more classroom visits. We went further than ever before in 2022. Check out our year in review video.
Wilfried Rütten, 25.05.1952 – 30.07.2022
We’re terribly sad to share the news that our dear friend Willi Rütten, one of Lie Detectors’ strongest supporters, has died after a short illness.
Journalists tell us about their visits
The Lie Detectors classroom visit spring surge will start in February. Watch what professional journalists say about the experience.
Lie Detectors Data Briefing 2021
In July 2021, Lie Detectors presented new findings on the rapid development of adult and child use of online data, on the effectiveness of media literacy training delivered by journalists, and on the role of teachers acting as multipliers in fighting fake news.
Building Resilience: Disinformation and Literacy in an Age of Digital Transformation
On July 8, 16:00 CET, Lie Detectors will host a webinar featuring Sandra Kalniete MEP, Andreas Schleicher, OECD Director of Education and Skills and Juliane von Reppert-Bismarck.
Lie Detectors starts visiting schools in Thuringia with MDR
Schools in Thuringia will be offered classroom sessions with journalists from MEDIEN360G, the media editorial office of MDR
Lie Detectors launches in Switzerland
Swiss journalists join drive for news literacy at school, in Lie Detectors’ cooperation with VSM
Every child a journalist: 77 journalists' resolution to empower critical minds
An Open Letter to the European Union institutions and member states
Looking to 2021
How we tackle disinformation in a digital world
COVID study teaser
Tackling the #infodemic
Lie Detectors rolls out distance-learning format
Here's to another year!
Lie Detectors’ 2020 New Year message
Lie Detectors Data analysis 2018-2019
Our journalists’ Findings in the Classroom
ZDF Heute plus follows Lie Detectors in a classroom
Cologne school kids get the visit of a Lie Detectors-trained journalist
Tackling Disinformation Face to Face Webinar
A webinar for teachers as part of the eTwinning Spring Campaign 2019
Lie Detectors Launches in Austria
First workshop and school visits scheduled in Vienna
Lie Detectors receives EU Digital Skills Award
Look What You Did
Lie Detectors’ 2019 New Year message
Lie Detectors Teams Up with Germany’s ARD
Inside a Classroom Visit
Lie Detectors is an independent and award-winning media literacy organisation in Europe whose remit is to counter the corrosive effect of online disinformation and online polarisation on democracy.
To do this, Lie Detectors empowers young people and teachers to tell fact from fake online and understand how professional journalism works. Interactive training sessions for school and teacher-training communities are run by selected and trained journalists and enable young and old to fact-check online content, understand news media, make informed choices and resist peer pressure as they assemble their worldview.
Lie Detectors contributes its insights from its on-the-ground work into advisory processes in the fields of education and digital rights to facilitate long-term societal resilience to polarisation and disinformation online.
- We turn working journalists and selected media experts into active participants in the drive for news literacy, creating positive contact between journalists and children as well as teachers. As of June 2021 we are working across Europe with more than 250 professional journalists and media organisations.
- We attune teachers in primary, middle and secondary schools to digital media risks, to the tools available to counter it, and to the benefits and relevance of further classroom discussion of a topic often relegated to IT lessons and after-school clubs.
- We provide work sheets and create memorable classroom experiences and lasting awareness of children’s own participation in social networks; to propel pupils into an ongoing conversation of news consumption and verifying news.
- We provide teacher-training seminars and workshops internationally, both as a Friend of eTwinning and in other fora.
- We provide a link between schools and the very best existing news-literacy and news-verification initiatives.
- Working with alliances of like-minded organisations, we inform educational policy-making through continued public speaking in varied fora, advocating for the systematic uptake and inclusion of news literacy in the curricula of teacher-training colleges and classrooms across Europe, as urged by Unesco and OECD. As part of this remit, Lie Detectors co-wrote expert recommendations and teacher guidelines as a member of the 2021/2022 Expert Group on Digital Literacy, and was a member of the EU’s 2018 High Level Group on Fake News, advising the European Commission on how to tackle the spread and socio-economic impact of disinformation.
- We remain independent of any commercial or political funding.
Why it matters
LIE DETECTORS works to improve news literacy, increase awareness of misinformation and further the general public’s understanding of the mainstream media industry. It promotes positive and non-political contact between young people and journalists. It does this by sending working journalists into schools to deliver interactive classroom sessions.
Fake news creates a confusing, frightening world for people of all ages, pressuring them into adopting views without understanding their intention. LIE DETECTORS is a non-profit that helps teenagers and pre-teens learn how to spot and resist the growing volume of manipulative media crowding their Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat accounts as they start to forge an independent world view. A proliferation of news and fake-news sources, distribution networks and social media – combined with a greater polarisation by mainstream press – make it increasingly hard to tell fact from fiction. Growing numbers of young people report being turned off politics because of a feeling of alienation in the face of misinformation.
LIE DETECTORS has no interest in telling young people what to think. It aims to empower them to base their choices on reliable information and be actively aware of bias and persuasion. Children worldwide are taught not to accept sweets from strangers. As they consume more media, they need news literacy to do so wisely.
How we do it
LIE DETECTORS deploys journalists and selected media experts to teach classroom sessions, recruiting them primarily from alumni circles of recognised journalism schools. The project operates in Austria, Belgium and Germany, with more countries to follow. Classroom sessions are free of charge.
Professional journalists and media experts teach the 90-minute sessions in the presence of a teacher, offering follow-up material where desired. Sessions include an overview of fake news, methods of testing for misinformation, and analysis of drivers of the fake-news phenomenon. Interactive sections – designed to suit the relevant age group – help children understand how mainstream media selects news and may insert bias to present a picture of reality that is often incomplete. Material for homework or follow-up sessions – where requested – allows children to develop deeper a understanding of selective storytelling and perspective. All services offered to classrooms are free of charge and aim to reach a broad and diverse range of schools in Europe.
LIE DETECTORS has experienced intense interest in its pilot program from schools, journalists, potential funders and policymakers. As of December 2019, it has
- designed and tested classroom sessions lasting 90 minutes for target age groups and collected feedback from more than 8500 children and their teachers*;
- successfully transferred the sessions from Belgium (French and English-speaking classrooms) to Germany and Austria (German-speaking classrooms);
- trained and enrolled 200 journalists for classroom visits;
- introduced the project to lawmakers, politicians, journalists, teachers and the general public at closed-door and public events with audiences ranging from 50 to 15,000 in Germany, Belgium, Bosnia&Herzegovina and Denmark among others. LIE DETECTORS has presented its concept to an audience of 15,000 at the Leipzig Festival of Light, which commemorates the German city’s role in ending communism.
- won the European Commission’s 2018 EU Digital skills award for its work in education. The awards are granted to recognise initiatives that have improved the digital skills of Europeans at school, at work, for ICT specialists, for girls and women and in society in general.
At its inception, the work of LIE DETECTORS work is aimed predominantly but not exclusively at school-aged children and their teachers, with a view to increasing general interest in and access to news literacy programs in Europe. LIE DETECTORS is currently active in Belgium, Germany and Austria. It will expand operations in these countries and pursue partnerships with relevant collaborating bodies to expand its program to other European countries. Countries currently being considered include the Netherlands and Poland.
LIE DETECTORS is a member of the European Commission’s High Level Expert Group on Digital Disinformation and Fake News, a 39-member advisory body launched in 2018 with the goal of proposing lasting solutions to online disinformation. Its principal aim within this group is to boost critical media and news literacy across Europe and to advocate for media and information literacy to be both taught in teacher training colleges across Europe and to be adopted as a key gauge for school ratings such as the OECD’s Pisa rankings.
LIE DETECTORS is non-political and its remit universal. It takes no funding from corporations including internet platforms. The success of LIE DETECTORS should be judged on the number of classrooms it reaches and its ability to operate across different countries, languages and cultures. It should be judged on the success of its aim to empower people to base choices on reliable information and be actively aware of bias and persuasion.
“Days after your presentation, they are still talking about the things they learned during your visit.” 5th grade form teacher, St. John’s International School, Waterloo, Belgium
“Can you come back next week?” 6th grade pupil, European School of Brussels, Belgium
“A good number teachers will be interested in being trained in media literacy by you as a journalist, also in order to follow up on your sessions.” Ciaran Foulds, religious studies teacher, European School of Brussels, Belgium
“It is good that I learn this now, and not later, because we are a lot on social media and then it is important to know this.” Primary school student, Norwegian School, Waterloo, Belgium
“I also changed my news habits based on our conversation as I was aware I was consuming only progressive/liberal media and not hearing the other voices out there. I now have a more balanced news approach.” Ethics teacher, European School of Brussels, Belgium
“The Lie Detectors sessions have inspired us to add a point to our school’s mission statement: that we will raise a community of critical thinkers who respect other points of view and meet them with a curious mind.”David Ian Bogaerts, Director, Bogaerts International School, Brussels
“The Lie Detectors script works really well and the smartness of the kids is just exhilarating.”Sophie Ben Chamo Albers, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Stern/Spiegel journalist
“The teaching concept is convincing because it not only speaks about fake news but also addresses our weaknesses as journalists honestly. I learned at least as much from the children as they (hopefully) from me.”Sven Knobloch, TV contributor for German broadcaster MDR and media studies professor at the University of Leipzig
Who we are
JULIANE VON REPPERT-BISMARCK
Executive Director and Founder
Juliane created Lie Detectors and directs its activities, partnerships and strategy. She heads the organisation’s advocacy. She has advised governments, policy-makers and the EU on strategies to counter disinformation and radicalisation, including within the EU’s High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and its Media Literacy Expert Group. Juliane designed the concept, scripts and training approach of Lie Detectors. For this, she has been recognised both personally as an EU “Local Hero” and via the project’s awards and award shortlists. To create Lie Detectors, Juliane put aside an award-winning journalism career, during which she wrote for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reuters, MLex and Spiegel Online among others. She is an alumna of New York’s Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Edinburgh and speaks German, English, Spanish and French.
Esther assists Juliane on a day-to day basis, helping to efficiently coordinate all aspects of the organisation’s activities. She joined Lie Detectors after holding similar roles in the private sector as well as having experience working with children and education. She holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and Philosophy from the University of East Anglia, UK and therefore has a great interest in critical thinking and literacy.
Joe moved to London to start a career in communications after completing his journalism training in Liverpool. He has more than 15 years of experience in communications, working for renowned science and education organisations, including one of the UK’s leading scientific membership organisations, the Institute of Physics (IOP), and one of the country’s leading multi-academy trusts, Ark Schools. He has run successful rebrands, reoriented websites, designed and delivered impactful internal communications programmes and led high profile media campaigns.
International Programme Director
As head of the International Programme Department, Margit oversees the organisation-wide strategic planning processes and evaluation. She works with the country teams and external experts on materials for our volunteer journalists and media experts for our classroom visits and teacher trainings. Previously, she worked for several years in event management and for a news agency, gaining strong management skills and insights into the work of journalists. Margit graduated from Hamburg University.
Following a successful time as Lie Detectors’ Country Lead in Germany, where Charlotte oversaw rapid growth of the country’s programme, she is now Operations Director. She is an experienced non-profit professional who previously worked for organisations of the Robert Bosch Foundation. A political scientist by training, Charlotte has a special interest in the political impact of disinformation. In 2022, she completed an MBA at the University of Illinois Chicago.
Ruxandra assists the Executive Director and Operations Director with a focus on accounts, HR and organisation-wide administration. She came to Lie Detectors with more than eight years’ experience in similar roles, using analytical and communication skills and a flexible approach to solving day-to-day problems. She holds a Master’s degree in Finance and Banking from the Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest.
Network coordinator for Lie Detectors, Vienna
Thomas coordinates Lie Detectors’ activities in Austria. He worked as a freelance journalist for various media in Vienna and as a research fellow at the department of communication at University of Vienna. During his master’s thesis in journalism and communication science, he analysed possible solutions to the increasing amount of disinformation on the Internet. In the course of this, Thomas founded the Austrian media education association “Digitaler Kompass”, which he manages today. He develops and maintains news literacy workshops for students, teachers and adults.
Austria Programme Assistant
Sinem supports Lie Detectors’ administrative activities from the office in Brussels. She has gained previous experience in event planning and administrative work. As a current master’s student in the North American Studies program at the University of Bonn, she focuses on the fields of political science and economics. The intersection of politics and mass media communication has been a particular point of interest for her.
Journalist, Media Literacy Expert & Network Coordinator for Lie Detectors, Vienna
Tim founded and manages the media education association “Digitaler Kompass”, which campaigns for news literacy improvements in Austria. He coordinates Lie Detectors’ activities in Austria together with Thomas Prager. He specialised in media ethics in his studies of journalism and communication sciences at the University of Vienna and wrote his thesis at the University of Istanbul on cultural factors influencing quality journalism. In addition, his two years in the marketing department of “der Standard” gave him an overview of the economics of media production. He has worked as a freelance journalist in Vienna.
Journalist and Network Coordinator for Lie Detectors in Linz, Upper Austria
Valentina is a freelance Journalist working for various print and online media. She has also founded Kopfkarussell, a journalism platform (for mental health issues). After backpacking in Latin America and returning to her reporter job, Valentina joined Lie Detectors and has been visiting schools since 2020. Since 2021, she’s been part of the Lie Detectors networking-team in and around Upper Austria. She also works with teachers as a private instructor for digital literacy.
Acting Belgium Programme Coordinator
Nele organises school visits and workshops in Belgium, as well as project-wide assignments. She grew up in Ghent and speaks Dutch, French, English and German. She holds a Master’s degree in literature from Ghent University as well as a degree in Conflict and Development Studies and has conducted field work on citizen journalism. Before joining Lie Detectors, Nele worked in the private sector.
Belgium Programme Assistant
Andres supports Lie Detectors with administrative and communications functions from the office in Brussels. He recently graduated with a master’s degree in Communication and Public Relations from the Catholic University of Louvain. Andres explored his interest for the broad field of journalism throughout his studies and past experiences in communication.
Head of Germany and Switzerland Programmes
Annkatrin heads Lie Detectors activities in Germany and manages its expansion within the country. She is an experienced non-profit professional who previously led the Europe Division of Stiftung Mercator. Annkatrin has a special interest in the societal impact and negative consequences of disinformation. She holds a master’s degree in political sciences and also studied philosophy and economics in Germany and Turkey.
Germany Programme Assistant
Maxime assists the German office of Lie Detectors in the organisation and coordination of school visits and journalist workshops. He studied cultural studies and media culture analysis in Germany as well as in Slovenia and Belgium. Having already worked with Lie Detectors during his master’s he rejoined the organisation after gathering further experience in the non-profit sector. Maxime ist particulary interested in the societal impact of disinformation.
Student Assistant, Germany
Marica supports Lie Detectors with administrative tasks from the Berlin office. Previously, she gained experience in assisting with projects and administrative work. She is currently studying economics and political science at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen. Marica’s enthusiasm for journalistic work and the critical examination of it was sparked by a series of workshops she took at her university’s International Writing Center.
CINDY MIREYA SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ
Student Assistant, Germany
Cindy supports Lie Detectors in organizational and administrative tasks from the Berlin Office. She speaks German, English, and Spanish. She is currently studying Philosophie and Computer Science at the Free University of Berlin. Her interest in critical thinking is what motivates her studies and work at Lie Detectors.
Journalist & Network Coordinator for Lie Detectors, Cologne region
Ann-Kathrin is a freelance reporter for German public radio. A research trip to the US sensitised her to the issues surrounding media quality and media ethics, prompting her to set up news-literacy workshops and classroom visits upon her return to Germany. Following a meeting at a specialist conference dedicated to the subject, Ann-Kathrin and Lie Detectors decided to join forces. She has since built up a network of journalists and schools for Lie Detectors in and around Cologne and manages its organisation.
Media Expert & Senior Consultant, Berlin
Jochen coordinates research and cooperation projects for Germany’s international public service broadcaster Deutsche Welle. His focus is on social newsgathering, verification of user-generated content and the use of eyewitness media for news reporting. He has a leading role in projects including REVEAL, InVID, Truly Media and WeVerify. Jochen also lectures at the Free University Berlin in Media & Communication Sciences. He is the author of the book The BBC in Transition and a number of papers, articles and book chapters. Previous to joining Deutsche Welle, Jochen was COO and Editor-in-Chief at a new media company and worked for BBC News & Current Affairs in radio and TV. Jochen supports Lie Detectors in its quest to bring media literacy into classrooms and raise awareness among young people on (news) media issues.
Journalist and Network Coordinator for Lie Detectors, Hamburg
Julia Kuttner is a freelance journalist. Amongst other things she works for ARD-aktuell in Hamburg and writes for tagesschau.de. She spent several years working on the social media desk of tagesschau. Since Autumn 2018 she visits classrooms with Lie Detectors. Julia established the network of schools and journalists for Lie Detectors in Hamburg. Furthermore, she organises classroom visits in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein and trains journalists for their own Lie Detectors classroom visits.
Journalist and Network Coordinator for Lie Detectors in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia
Based in Leipzig, Sven is a freelance TV reporter for German public broadcaster MDR and a contributor for ARD Aktuell and major German news programmes including Tagesschau and Tagesthemen. Sven is one of Lie Detectors’ first participating journalists and has been visiting schools with Lie Detectors since 2018. Since 2020 he is responsible for networks of journalists and participating schools in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
WILFRIED RÜTTEN (1952-2022)
Media Expert & Consultant
Wilfried was a highly valued consultant to Lie Detectors. He brought a wealth of experience of European journalism and academia and conducted important work on international news verification projects. He was the director of the European Journalism Centre from 2005-2016. He headed the school of digital television at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, Austria until 2005 and worked in German public and private broadcasting as a reporter and producer (ARD, RTL-Group). He is sorely missed.
For a partial list of visiting journalists and media experts, click here.
LIE DETECTORS is financed by the Wyss Foundation and accredited by the King Baudouin Foundation US. Our partner organisations include the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (Germany), Digitaler Kompass (Austria) and EAVI Media Literacy for Citizenship (Belgium).
LIE DETECTORS runs classroom sessions in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland and Switzerland.