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Lie Detectors wins 2018 EU Digital Skills Award


 

Our Mission

Our award-winning project aims to turn schoolchildren in Europe aged 10-15 into powerful lie detectors and critical thinkers in a world increasingly populated by propaganda and distorted facts online, empowering them to understand news media, make informed choices and resist peer pressure as they assemble their worldview.

  • To 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 their teachers.
  • To attune teachers 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.
  • To 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.
  • To provide a link between schools and the very best existing news-literacy and news-verification initiatives.
  • To influence 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 is a member of the EU’s new High Level Group on Fake News, advising the European Commission on how to tackle the spread and socio-economic impact of disinformation.

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 recognized journalism schools. Country focus will begin in Belgium and Germany. 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 – 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. To date it has

  • designed and tested classroom sessions lasting 90 minutes for target age groups and collected feedback from more than 500 children and their teachers;
  • successfully transferred the sessions from Belgium (English-speaking classrooms) to Germany (German-speaking classrooms);
  • entered into partnerships with the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, First Draft News and EAVI Literacy for Citizenship among others.
  • 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.

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 and Germany. It will expand operations in both countries and pursue partnerships with relevant collaborating bodies to expand its program to other European countries. Countries currently being considered include Austria, 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

founder & director

Juliane created the concept of Lie Detectors and directs its strategy, partnerships and advocacy. She represents the project as a member of the advisory High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Online Disinformation and High Level Group on Media Literacy convened by the European Commission, and has advised policy-makers on anti-radicalisation and platform accountability in France, Germany, Belgium and Scandinavia. To create Lie Detectors, Juliane put aside an award-winning journalism career of 20 years, during which she wrote for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reuters, MLex and Spiegel among others. She is an alumnus of New York’s Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

BIRGIT KRAUSSE

operations director

Birgit is an experienced association management professional with strong administrative, organisation and project management skills. In over ten years she has managed the operations of different international non-for-profits, ensuring their smooth running and organisational efficiency. A German national, Birgit has acquired a degree in Economics and Management from the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, and speaks German, English, French and Italian. As Operations Director with Lie Detectors, Birgit is entrusted with the management of the budget, accounting  and human resource systems, and assists with the implementation of management systems and processes to facilitate the interactions with and between Lie Detector’s different collaborators, as well as the wider roll-out of the classroom programme across Europe.

INDRA WEBER

project officer

Indra brings a strong education-sector background to her role at Lie Detectors. Her focus has been on innovation in teaching and learning as well as social entrepreneurship and sustainability models. She holds a master’s degree in Management from Stockholm University and completed an International Business degree in Amsterdam. Born in Germany, she has spent much of her life aboard, including in West Africa and New Zealand. Indra supports coordination, organisation and research at Lie Detectors and engages to maximise visibility among journalists, educators, students and policymakers.

ADELINE BRION

programme officer, Belgium

Experienced and passionate in non-profit project management, Adeline facilitates successful training workshops and journalist-led sessions in Belgian schools and keeps an eye on the Belgian news literacy landscape. Adeline graduated from both ULB and VUB and holds two complementary master’s degrees in literature and communication. More generally she is curious about media, education, culture and EU affairs. As a Brussels native, she speaks English, French and Dutch and is keen on enjoying the city’s secret terraces.

ANN-KATHRIN HORN

journalist & consultant, Cologne

Ann-Kathrin is a freelance reporter for German public radio. A research trip to the US sensitized 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 Cologne and manages its organisation.

JOCHEN SPANGENBERG

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.

WILFRIED RÜTTEN

media expert & consultant

Wilfried 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 has worked in German public and private broadcasting as a reporter and producer (ARD, RTL-Group). Wilfried has conducted important work on international news verification projects and brings a wealth of experience of European journalism and academia. He is a consultant for Lie Detectors.

LIE DETECTORS is funded by the Wyss Foundation, accredited by the King Baudouin Foundation US and supported by the Global Reporting Centre, EAVI, First Draft and the ECPMF.

                                                                                                  

LIE DETECTORS will run new classroom sessions in Germany and Belgium from January 2018.
Please watch this page for more information or contact us directly.