The website is the first of its kind.
Image via Truth Be Told News' Facebook page.
Howard University’s School of Communications recently launched the first fact-checking service dedicated entirely to claims about the African-American community. The website, TruthBeTold.news, publishes student investigations into commonly spouted bullshit like the idea that Planned Parenthood is strategically planning black genocide.
“I watched fact-checking sites grow and realized that there was nothing specific that dealt with issues affecting blacks in the U.S.,” New York Times correspondent and Howard adjunct Ron Nixon, who first proposed the idea, told Nieman Lab. “I thought this would be a good idea and perform an important public service, but I also realized it could be a really great teaching tool.”
The initiative, founded last semester, is taught as a one-credit class in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film, but open to any Howard student or professor who wants to participate. While the goal is to teach skepticism and digital media literacy, department chair Yanick Rice Lamb emphasizes TruthBeTold.news isn’t just a “practice” site, but aims to be a vital everyday resource and, one day, a sustainable business.
“We believe right now it’s anybody’s game,” Lamb told Nieman Lab. “We’d like to be right in the conversation, so that if something’s going viral on social media, we can fact-check it in the moment.”
So far, students have debunked the claims that D.C. is still the “Chocolate City,” that a dollar spent in the black community only stays there for six hours, and that filming the police is “driving a wedge between African-American communities and law enforcement.” The class is currently researching the “saggy pants” stereotype.