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Beacon Project: Media Monitoring in the Age of Disinformation

As the mouthpiece of democracy, promoting and protecting quality journalism and information sharing must be one of the key responses to the threats posed by hostile actors actively seeking to undermine, disrupt, or otherwise destabilize democratic societies.

In support of this cause, the IRI's Beacon Project created >versus<, a proprietary ICT media monitoring tool, for its network of partners to use. Previously, many organizations relied on manual observation to collect data and lacked the resources to adequately monitor the vast information space. IRI developed the tool with the aim of improving the efficiency and methodology of media monitors. Initially launched with a focus on Central Europe, the sources and language capabilities are continuing to expand as the Beacon Project’s network of practitioners increases.

Unaided, a media monitor can manually search through only a handful of sources in a day. The Beacon Project's >versus< enables monitors to search through a live database of thousands of sources, organize and filter the results, and produce visuals or export the data for use in 3rd party software, like Excel, in a matter of seconds. To limit confirmation bias, >versus< does not focus only on fringe and hostile media but instead monitors reputable mainstream media as well. 

>versus<  is provided free-of-charge to the Beacon Project’s network of practitioners and partners. Through increasing the capacity and methodology of all relevant actors regardless of their available budgets IRI is building the broad and diverse network of experts that is needed to address the serious threat that disinformation and poor journalism pose to our democratic institutions and societies.