This project is an experiment in experiential learning through a cyber verification lab at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre.

Students simultaneously learn how to apply critical thinking skills as well as practical digital skills to ‘debunk and discern’ online information and make sense from the constant ‘noise’ flowing from photos, videos and messages in social media. The lab also investigates rumours during Hong Kong’s chief executive elections. The teaching of the core journalistic value of verification must develop to meet new challenges and keep apace with pressures in a cyber age that has now moved beyond a ‘web 2.0’ era.

The Internet, social media and mobile platforms have spurred a continuous flow of information – and misinformation that digital citizens can conveniently access and share. Yet time again we see the digital audience’s critical thinking skills are still developing to adjust in the age of the ‘viral fake’. Against such a current backdrop, it is crucial for journalism students to be literate in new digital technologies and the verification of user-generated content.

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