CORONA UPDATE: Lie Detectors has adapted its format to distance-learning to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Our new format prompts children and adults to fact-check corona-related social media posts. It’s accessible for all children regardless of digital connectedness. At the end of every module, we create virtual classroom visits during which pupils ask our journalists questions on news literacy and fact checking at this critical time. Feedback has been extremely positive and we are gathering findings to inform our work as schools adapt. To find out more or participate in our corona-adapted programme, see here.
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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
Our award-winning news literacy 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.
- 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 their teachers. As of December 2019, we have trained 200 journalists.
- We 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.
- We 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 a link between schools and the very best existing news-literacy and news-verification initiatives.
- We 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 was 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 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.”
“Can you come back next week?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“The Lie Detectors script works really well and the smartness of the kids is just exhilarating.”
“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.”
Who we are
JULIANE VON REPPERT-BISMARCK
Founder & CEO
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.
JESSICA VAN ZINNICQ BERGMANN
Assistant to the CEO
Jessica assists the CEO and works on project-wide administration. Following the completion of her business degree and several years of experience in the commercial sector, Jessica completed a master’s degree in criminology and law at the University of Maastricht and sought a new career path in the non-profit sector.
Chief Operating Officer (Interim)
Sarah runs the operational side of Lie Detectors, working across programme, country and administrative teams to ensure consistency efficiency and high standards. A journalist by training, Sarah is an experienced operational and strategic leader who has worked for the BBC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and other global media organisations. She sits on the board of the University of Kent, and is a former president and current UK head of the Worldwide Association of Women Journalists and Writers.
Acting Project Director & Country Programme Coordinator, 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.
Lie Detectors Project Assistant, Belgium
Nele assists in the organisation of 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.
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.
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.
Interim Country Programme Director, Germany
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.
CHARLOTTE CARNEHL (on leave)
Country Programme Director, Germany
Charlotte heads the implementation of the Lie Detectors project within Germany and manages expansion within the country. 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. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, teaches non-profit management at the University of Hamburg and is a Fulbright alumna.
Country Programme Coordinator, Germany
Margit supports the Programme Director Germany with the expansion of the project across the country. She coordinates classroom visits and training workshops and is in frequent contact with schools and journalists. Previously, she worked for several years in event management and for a news agency, gaining profound management skills and insights into the work of journalists. Margit graduated from Hamburg University.
Student assistant, Germany
Anja supports Lie Detectors administrative activities from the office in Berlin. She is currently studying Cultural Studies and English at the University of Potsdam. The critical examination of image and especially text media is of particular importance for her studies. She discovered her interest in educational work mainly through her experience at a Berlin children and youth literature house.
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.
Journalist & Network Coordinator for Lie Detectors, 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.
Journalist and Network Coordinator for Lie Detectors, Hamburg
Julia is a journalist at Germany’s public news broadcaster ARD-aktuell and a contributor at tagesschau.de. She spent several years working on the social media desk of tagesschau. She runs workshops on social media, community management and verification and has been visiting classrooms with Lie Detectors since autumn 2018. She coordinates Lie Detectors’ activities in and around Hamburg, and trains journalists participating in the project.
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 Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia
Sven is a freelance TV reporter for the German public broadcaster MDR, based in Leipzig. He is also a contributor for ARD Aktuell and major German news shows like Tagesschau and Tagesthemen. Sven has been visiting schools for Lie Detectors since 2018 and enjoys talking to students about his work and their media usage. Since he started, he has built up a network of journalists and schools for Lie Detectors in Leipzig and manages its organisation. The network has recently expanded to the central German state of Saxony-Anhalt and is also set to move into Thuringia.
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, Media Literacy Expert & 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.
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 will run new classroom sessions in Germany, Belgium and Austria from September 2020.
Please watch this page for more information or contact us directly.