When Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage took to their podiums last week to debate the subject of Europe, in a room "next door" a team of eight fact-checkers were hard at work looking into the claims being made on stage.
The debate, run by LBC, was accompanied by a liveblog run by members of the Full Fact team, who were looking into the quoted figures and sharing statistics in real-time.
The team fact-checked BBC Question Time last year, and having heard about LBC's plans for a debate between Clegg and Farage, they were keen to get involved, Will Moy, director of Full Fact told Journalism.co.uk.
There was some preparation, with the team able to look into past claims and official statistics around key subject areas they knew would be discussed. This also meant they could publish "pre-existing" charts on the blog.
The team looked at "speeches and other statements from Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage", Moy said, to have an understanding of regular comments and statistics they cite on those subjects.
This meant they "were prepared to respond to those kind of things".
This liveblog was published on LBC's website, and yesterday Full Fact followed up with a 'videocheck', delivering not only a more detailed check of all statistics shared during the debate, based on transcripts, but the ability for users to click through to particular subject areas which took place using "fact-checking subtitles", which takes them straight to the corresponding video and text.
Moy said the team has "gone over the entire transcript, sentence-by-sentence", with the result being a "pretty near completely comprehensive fact check of everything said during the debate", he said.
With future plans for more videochecks of political events, Full Fact is also looking for media outlets to collaborate with.
As well as Full Fact's efforts there are other examples of media outlets carrying out fact-checking services alongside political discussions. The Washington Post's Truth Teller, which takes note of words being made in a political speech, and then refers to a database of facts in order to check them out. The plan is to build this to a point where it is running close to real-time by 2016, to be used to cover the presidential elections.
Moy said Truth Teller is a "seriously impressive product", but Full Fact wants the flexibility of having human fact-checkers doing the work. He also added that rather than giving an overall weighting of how true or false a speech, or claim, is, Full Fact was more about "filling in the gaps".
Another example of live statistics sharing can be found at Ampp3d, Trinity Mirror's data-journalism site, which tweets during BBC Question Time to discuss data around the subjects being discussed, and follows up with posts on the website going into topics discussed and claims made in more detail.
Fact-checking website Politicometro in Italy also gets involved on social media when polticial statements are made on television in fact-checking claims and figures where possible.
Free daily newsletter
- International Fact-Checking Day: eight resources for verifying information
- 'Lead with the truth, not the controversy': how to report on the 2020 US election
- BBC Voice News Service to give news bulletins on smart speakers a human touch
- Tip: How to script a journalism video
- Weekly journalism news update: Mental health in the newsroom, Instagram and Brexit coverage