Verification Basics

First Draft Launches Free Course on Identifying Misinformation Online

Cambridge, MA—First Draft, a project run by Shorenstein Center Fellow Claire Wardle, has launched a free one-hour online course to teach journalists, students, and members of the general public basic tools to verify the authenticity of content found online.

Countless examples of people earnestly sharing Photoshopped images of natural disasters, or retweeting content from Russian troll accounts, show how treacherous the online information landscape has become. The goal for this course is to help people better distinguish good information from bad, and thereby prevent them from sharing the bad.

The course is designed as an introduction to basic information literacy skills. It has four sections of case studies, interactive challenges, and explanatory short videos on how to research sources online and independently confirm the time, location, and originality of photos and videos. It includes relevant and topical examples from recent world events, such as Hurricane Irma and the conflict in Syria, to demonstrate how verification skills and techniques can be put into practice.

Anyone can access this free course by going to and clicking the ‘Get Free Access’ button. The course’s FAQ can be found here. Educators are also free to take elements from the course and integrate them into their own classroom curriculum. Additionally, newsroom training managers are encouraged to spread the word about the course to their staff.

About First Draft
First Draft uses research-based methods to fight mis- and disinformation. First Draft manages and supports experimental, journalistic fieldwork to tackle information disorder, conducts research to evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and educates journalists and the wider public through courses, resources, and trainings. For more information, visit

About the Shorenstein Center
The Shorenstein Center is a research center based at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a mission to study and analyze the power of media and technology and its impact on governance, public policy, and politics. Research, courses, fellowships, public events, and engagement with students, scholars, and journalists form the core of the Center. For more information, visit

Contact for questions and media requests:
Eric Singerman, Shorenstein Center, 617-495-0478