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Assessing fact-checking competence of journalism lecturers in Ondo state tertiary institutions


The journalism business has moved from using conventional media like radio,  television or print media for information dissemination, thanks to the revolution  occasioned by social media. The internet and social media platforms all around the  world have enabled media convergence such that anybody with enabling ICT tools can  publish or receive information at the same speed of production, especially under the  competition of who first breaks the news. This has encouraged the spread of fake news  by users of social media and even journalists. While non-journalists could use lack of  exposure to requisite training as an alibi, the journalists do not have any excuse since  they are expected to have been imbued with the relevant skills in their respective  training/educational institutions.  

This paradox has, therefore, necessitated the need to investigate the level of fact checking competence among journalists’ trainers/teachers and the knowledge they  impact on their students. Mixed research method, combining census survey with in depth interview, was adopted to gather data from all the lecturers in the departments of Mass Communication in five tertiary institutions offering journalism courses in  Ondo State. 36 lecturers and their Heads of Departments were interviewed. The  findings of this study revealed that there was no specific course on fact-checking across  the institutions and the level of fact-checking competence is correspondingly very low  among the lecturers. This study also revealed that years of service of the lecturers had a  positive relationship with their fact-checking competence. In conclusion, the study  recommends that journalism lecturers should be trained to develop fact-checking  skills while the curricula across institutions in the country should be reviewed to suit  current information dispensation. 

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