The Starling Lab, a research center anchored at Stanford University’s School of Engineering and the University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation, has developed a ground-breaking framework to combat mis/disinformation by tracking the provenance of digital content through the use of open-source tools, best practices and case studies designed to help reduce information uncertainty.
What We Do for Journalism

The Starling Framework is using Web3 tools to catalyze Journalism.

Starling is prototyping and testing a comprehensive set of tools and principles that empower journalists to reduce information uncertainty by securely capturing, storing and verifying digital records including photographs, video, data and documents. By innovating and prototyping with the latest cryptographic methods and decentralized web protocols The Starling Lab will address the

technical and ethical challenges of establishing trust in sensitive digital records. The Lab’s three areas of practice are: Journalism, Historical Preservation and the Law. The potential use cases for the Starling framework are numerous. For journalists, the question is: how can these methods and tools improve news gathering and trust in digital content?

Case Studies

The Starling Lab has partnered with news organizations including Reuters and The South China Morning Post to deploy authentication technologies in the field.

78 Days

For 78 days, teams at the Starling Lab and Reuters worked together to document the presidential transition from Donald Trump to Joe Biden with an array of new image authentication technology.

What to Get Right First

How can a decentralized Internet realistically transform data integrity across the web? Rebecca MacKinnon, a 2021 Starling Lab Summer Fellow and former CNN Beijing and Tokyo bureau chief, takes a look.

Get Involved

The Starling Journalism Fellowship

Starling’s Journalism Fellowship aims to identify individuals eager to tell the world’s most pressing stories, infusing reporting with secure ways to capture, store and verify digital content, including photos, video, data, and documents. We will road-test new technologies and incubate newsroom projects that strengthen data integrity.

Starling Fellowship Projects

“The DJ and the War Crimes”

Rolling Stone

"Documenting Stockton’s Homeless"

Bay City News

"In Brazil, the World’s Largest Tropical Wetland Has Been Overwhelmed With Unprecedented Fires and Clouds of Propaganda"

Inside Climate News

"Police Seize on COVID-19 Tech to Expand Global Surveillance"

Associated Press


“USC and Stanford Launch Starling Lab to Protect Human Rights with Decentralization”


“The Dangerous Rise of Alternative Facts”

Jonathan Dotan & Cheryl Phillips

“Social Media’s Selective Historical Memory is a Human Rights Issue”

Jonathan Dotan/The Independent

“How Private and Public Ledgers Can Take on Misinformation”


“Restoring Trust in our Digital Age with Compression”

Stanford Research Talks

“Information, Theory, Power and Competition”

Stanford Research Talks

“Inside Starling Lab, a moonshot project to preserve the world’s most important information”


“How cryptography and Web3 can help restore trust in digital media”

Stanford engineering

Privacy Preference Center