DMINR gets £300,000 Google grant to tackle fake news

A team of researchers at City University of London have been given £300,000 by Google to build a web-based app called DMINR in an attempt to combat ‘fake news’.

The grant came from the Google Digital News Initiative (DNI) and the app will seek to combine machine learning and AI to help journalists with fact-checking and verification.

City’s researchers will test the app with up to 30 European newsrooms, including the Telegraph media group’s data teams and the Guardian.

The project aims to develop a “technological solution to a growing problem in journalism – how to conduct public interest journalism in a news ecosystem where resources are shrinking and, more starkly, newsrooms are closing down,” said Tom Felle, a project lead and senior lecturer in digital journalism at City.

He added: As more and more information is stored and made available electronically – by governments; public bodies; supra-national organisations and others – sifting through mass data has become increasingly difficult.

“Few newsrooms have the capacity to undertake digital investigative journalism because of a lack of skills, resources and access to digital tools, yet this sort of accountability and public service journalism is vitally important for democracy.

“Separating the news from the noise is key to the verification of digital information. DMINR serves to empower journalists by supporting them in identifying and making sense of connections in large, complex datasets.

“It will allow journalists to take the lead in breaking original news, build trust and engagement with audiences, combat false information and provide a counter-balance to infotainment and so-called ‘churnalism’,” he added.

The project is expected to begin in September and will take two years to complete.