Our 2024 classroom visit dates:

Spring: 19 February – 19 April

Summer: 13 May – 31 July

Winter: 4 November – 23 December

Our teacher training workshops are available on request, year-round.

To request a classroom visit or a teacher training workshop, email info@lie-detectors.org.

Follow us on LinkedIn 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.

Lie Detectors is a Supportive Partner of eTwinning.

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Our Mission

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.

Practically,

  • 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 strategy and development. She has advised governments, policy-makers and the EU on countering disinformation and polarisation, including within the EU’s 2018 High-Level Expert Group on Fake News and co-wrote EU recommendations as part of the 2022 Digital Literacy Expert Group. Juliane’s design of the Lie Detectors’ concept, its scripts and training approach has been recognised through numerous awards. To found Lie Detectors, Juliane put aside an award-winning journalism career where she wrote for The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Reuters, MLex and Spiegel Online among others. She holds degrees from New York’s Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Edinburgh and speaks English, German, Spanish and French.

MARIELLE COMBE

Operations Director

Marielle oversees finance and budgets, legal compliance, human resources and organisational administration at Lie Detectors. Marielle brings extensive experience in these fields thanks to decades spent respectively as Director of Administration and Finance at the Brussels-based Council of European Municipalities and Regions and holding different administrative positions at the International Development Law Organization in Rome. Previously Marielle oversaw finance training at the Financial Times group in London.

MARGIT LANGENBEIN

International Programme Director

Margit oversees the work of Lie Detectors’ country programmes and their implementation of Lie Detectors’ mission and strategy. Within senior leadership, she designs annual country-level impact goals and takes a leading role designing partnership agreements. Margit oversees roll-out of new training activities and their quality control. She regularly trains journalists and teachers, participates in the strategic design of new training modules for Lie Detectors’ communities. Previously, Margit 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.

ANNEMIEKE AKKERMANS

Senior Advisor – Education Strategy and Development

Annemieke leads the design and development of Lie Detectors’ whole-school approach. Her work is informed by her experience of the State Institute for School and Media in Berlin-Brandenburg (LISUM) and her ongoing work as Head of IT & Media and teaching Media Studies at Berlin’s Nelson Mandela School, where her work resulted in numerous media awards and an official excellence designation. Annemieke previously held senior management roles at international broadcast organisations in the UK and Netherlands. She holds degrees in Communication Science and Pedagogy and as a doctoral candidate at Humboldt University in Berlin, she conducted research on the impact of authentic digital learning environments on student agency.

 

JOE SARCHET-WINTERS

Communications Director

Joe is responsible for delivering impactful communications about Lie Detectors and for its teams and communities. He has 20 years of experience in communications, working for science and education organisations, including the UK-based Institute of Physics (IOP), and leading UK multi-academy trust and education charity Ark. Joe holds a graduate degree from the University of Oxford and a postgraduate qualification in journalism.

ESTHER READ

Executive Assistant

Esther assists the Executive Director with planning and scheduling of external representation and takes a leading role in planning Lie Detectors’ public-facing priorities. 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.

RAYAN TEMARA

Outreach & Advocacy Associate

Rayan supports Lie Detectors’ cooperation with civil society, media and policymakers and tracks policy developments in education and digital rights. He advises the senior team and helps keep Lie Detectors communities abreast of relevant developments in the fields of education and digital reforms. Previously Rayan worked as a radio host and journalist. He holds a Master’s degree in Political Communication and speaks French, English, Dutch and Spanish.

SINEM ŞAHIN

International Programme Officer

Sinem Şahin supports Lie Detectors’ training programming in Europe, the roll-out of new training activities and work with teams in new regions. She helps ensure consistent standards and participates in Lie Detectors’ cooperation with researchers. Sinem holds a Bachelor’s degree in English Studies and French Studies and speaks English, German, Dutch, French and Turkish.

JADE-IHINTZA DRONEAU

International Programme Associate

Jade-Ihintza supports the International Program Department, particularly for our classroom visits in Switzerland. She was previously an Administration Trainee at the Lie Detectors office in Brussels, before moving to the International Programme as an associate. She studied Law at La Sorbonne, Political Sciences and Economics at the Catholic Institute of Paris and holds a Master’s degree from the University of Kent in International Law and International Relations.

 

RUXANDRA MANEA

Operations Officer

Ruxandra supports the Operations Director in ensuring efficient and effective operations across the organisation, with a focus on finance and human resources. 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.

NELE BAUWENS

Operations Associate

Nele supports Lie Detectors’ systems and processes. She also supports the team with logistics, IT, internal reporting and administrative tasks. Nele 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. She speaks Dutch, French, English and German.

THOMAS PRAGER

Head of Austria Programme

Thomas coordinates Lie Detectors’ activities in Austria, designing country-level strategy and delivering training for journalists. His work is informed by his co-founding and ongoing leadership of leading Austrian media literacy non-profit Digitaler Kompass. Thomas previously worked as a 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.

JULIA BEBERNIK

Austria Programme Associate

Julia supports the organisation and coordination of school visits and workshops in Austria. She holds a Master’s degree in Management of Social and Health Organisations and worked previously in social NGOs in Germany and Chile.

LIES FERON

Head of Belgium Programme

Lies coordinates Lie Detectors’ training programmes in Belgium, designing country-level strategy and delivering training for Belgian and international journalists. She is an accomplished project manager with more than 25 years’ experience in both public and private sectors, including science communication and press relations at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, advocacy for the European educational organisation effe, teaching and production assistance at various media, such as RTL-west, Deutsche Welle and ORF. She studied history and political sciences in Essen, and speaks English, French, Dutch and German.

 

ANDRES PLACERES HERNANDEZ

Belgium Programme Associate

Andres works with the Head of Belgium Programme to deliver Lie Detectors’ training in Belgium. He holds a Master’s degree in Communications and Public Relations from the Catholic University of Louvain. He speaks French, Spanish and English.

 

ANNKATRIN KAISER

Head of Germany Programme

Annkatrin heads Lie Detectors’ training activities in Germany, managing operations and implementing Lie Detectors’ strategy and activities with a large country-level pool of coordinators and trainers. She represents Lie Detectors as second chair of Germany’s media literacy asssociation Journalismus macht Schule and has overseen and helped build a German-speaking training programme in Switzerland. Annkatrin is an experienced non-profit professional who previously led the Europe Division of Stiftung Mercator. She holds a master’s degree in political sciences and studied philosophy and economics in Germany and Turkey.

ANN-KATHRIN HORN

Cologne Network Coordinator

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. She regularly delivers training for journalists, classrooms and teachers.

JULIA KUTTNER

Hamburg Network Coordinator

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. She regularly delivers training for teachers.

SVEN KNOBLOCH

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 creating networks of journalists and participating schools in Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. He regularly trains journalists to deliver Lie Detectors’ workshops.

MAXIME GREWE

Germany Programme Associate

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.

ANNA SŁOJEWSKA

Poland Programme Coordinator

Anna has built up Lie Detectors’ network in Poland and coordinates all training activities in the country. She is the EU correspondent of Rzeczpospolita in Brussels and trains children in media literacy there.

 

CECILIA MILLAR-RAKISITS

Communications Trainee

Cecilia assists Lie Detectors’ digital communications and brand guardianship. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Security Studies from The Australian National University and has a background in communications and education.

MARICA RAUSCHNICK

Working Student Project Administration, Germany

Marica supports the delivery and administration of Lie Detectors’ German programming. Previously, she gained experience in assisting with projects and administrative work. She holds two Bachelor degrees from the University of Göttingen and is currently pursuing her Master in Governance and Public Policy at the University of Passau.

CINDY MIREYA SANCHEZ FERNANDEZ

Working Student Project Administration, Germany

Cindy supports the delivery and administration of Lie Detectors’ German programming. She is currently studying Philosophy and Computer Science at the Free University of Berlin.

ERIC KARSTENS

Strategic Advisor – Partnerships and Development

Eric brings more than 30 years of media experience to the table. After originally starting out in broadcast television in his native Germany, he has been a grant proposal and bid developer since 2007, specialising in journalism, communications and civil society, with his focus on funding opportunities offered by the European Union and international philanthropic foundations. He advises and supports non-profits as well as for-profit companies and higher education institutions in Europe and around the world. On the side, Eric works as an author and evaluator. He believes that the work of Lie Detectors is crucial to (re-)build and maintain trust in quality journalism from the bottom up.

JOCHEN SPANGENBERG

Media Expert & Senior Consultant

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 (1952-2022)

Founding Association Member & Senior Consultant

Willi was a highly valued advisor to Lie Detectors. He helped shape its founding strategy and partnerships and brought visibility to Lie Detectors from its inception. After retiring from a distinguished career in journalism, Willi became one of Lie Detectors’ most prolific and well-liked classroom mentors. His insights continue to contribute to the organisation’s development. He is greatly missed.

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.

Teacher training workshops are available internationally on request, provided in-person and remotely.

Lie Detectors is a Friend of eTwinning.

Email info@lie-detectors.org for more information.