How Fact-Checkers Define and Apply “Objective Journalism”. Cases of Study of Italy and Spain


  • Claudia Capelli Università di Bologna
  • Lorena Cano-Orón Universidad de Valencia
  • Pina Lalli Università di Bologna



fact-checkers, objective journalism, fact-checking, disinformation, media ecosystem


The process of fact-checking has emerged as a specialised practice within the news media industry. This research aims to examine how fact-checkers contribute to the construction of “objectivity” through their verification practices, with a specific focus on the methods and sources that they employ. In addition, it analyses how fact-checkers distinguish themselves from traditional practices of legacy media in how they define themselves. To achieve this, we looked into two cases of study involving two fact-checkers from Italy and two from Spain. We conducted a qualitative analysis of the self-presentation of each media outlet and a content analysis of the news they published over the course of a year. The findings reveal differences between the Spanish and Italian fact-checkers in terms of the topics covered and the sources used for debunking. Despite their perceived image as champions of “journalistic purity” and advocates of “truth”, we criticise this aspect, particularly with regard to their selection of information sources. We question how the fact-checkers’ image and identity directly impact journalism and the broader information ecosystem.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


This work was carried out in the framework of the: "Disinformation flows, polarisation and crisis of media intermediation" (PID2020-113574RB-I00), project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Spanish State Research Agency; "Information disarray: precarious quality, over(mis)information and polarisation" (CIAICO/2021/125), project funded by the Ministry of Universities and Innovation of the Generalitat Valenciana, and in the Italian Network interdepartmental of Journalism and Disinformation.


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2023-11-27 — Updated on 2024-02-19

How to Cite

Capelli, C., Cano-Orón, L., & Lalli, P. (2024). How Fact-Checkers Define and Apply “Objective Journalism”. Cases of Study of Italy and Spain. Tripodos, (54), 28–46.

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