The ABC’s Fact Check Unit is back in business — with ABC News and RMIT University partnering to relaunch the award-winning news service.
The newly-branded RMIT ABC Fact Check will return in March to once again test and adjudicate on the accuracy of claims made by politicians, public figures, advocacy groups and institutions engaged in public debate.
The ABC Fact Check Unit was closed in 2016 due to the Federal Government’s budget cuts.
RMIT ABC Fact Check will be based in Melbourne at RMIT’s new media precinct, which will open in March.
Dean of the University’s School of Media and Communication, Martyn Hook, said the nonpartisan, non-profit collaboration aimed to reduce the levels of deception and confusion around public policy issues and debates.
“This partnership with the ABC builds on RMIT’s reputation for producing journalism graduates with integrity, credibility and commitment to the highest standard and principles of media practice,” Professor Hook said in a statement.
“In a time of ‘post-truth’, ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’, it is ever more critical to hold public figures to account and ensure that public discourse — the basis of democracy — is based in fact.
RMIT is thrilled to join with the ABC to relaunch Fact Check and support this crucial public service
RMIT Dean of the University's School of Media and Communication, Martyn Hook
ABC Director of News Gaven Morris said the innovative partnership would bring great value to audiences.
“ABC News is delighted to be able to work with the academic community, as well as other groups and institutions, in this way,” he said.
“Sharing resources and collaborating on analysis and original research helps us better serve the broadest possible audience.
“Fact-check journalism is a great way of providing more of the essential context people need to help them fully understand the major stories and important issues of the day.”
How will it work?
RMIT ABC Fact Check will research and publish Fact Checks and Fact Files and restart the Promise Tracker.
Content will be published by the ABC and on a dedicated RMIT portal.
It will be headed by Russell Skelton, a Walkley Award-winning journalist who founded and ran the original ABC Fact Check Unit from 2013 until mid-2016.
RMIT will also appoint a senior editor and fact check researchers, along with interns drawn from RMIT journalism students and alumni.
Journalism academic staff will work with the Fact Check team to research the emergence and value of fact check journalism in today’s media landscape.
The ABC will retain final editorial control of, and responsibility for, all Fact Check content published by the ABC.
Content will be subject to all the ABC’s Editorial Policies and its normal complaints handling procedures.