Verifying Information in Challenging Environments for Citizen Monitors

Now that you have explored how to authenticate the source, verify the content, and cross- reference the context, you need to develop standards and a protocol for your own verification process. In other words, you need a system that allows you to decide what information you will verify and to what degree.

As a citizen monitor you collect a lot of information on a daily basis. A set of standards to determine the level of veracity and a protocol to review information will not only allow you to go through your verification process efficiently, but also allow you to distribute information in a timely manner.

Step I: Choose what you need to verify

You do not necessarily need to verify everything. Choose the most important information by looking at the type of information you receive and the amount. You may need to evaluate your capacity to verify all of your information. Sometimes it is better to have fewer, well verified facts, than a lot of semi-verified information.

Step II: Choose your verification criteria

Create a standard set of criteria that measures the veracity of information. Often, the level in which you can verify something is dependent on what is available to you at the moment (i.e. Internet access, a trusted source, etc.) so you need to have different degrees in which you would consider information verified. If the information remains questionable or is not verifiable, it is still possible to share the information, but just ensure it is duly noted as “unverified” or “suspect” and give as much explanation as space and format allow.