The applicant belongs to the organization Dagens Nyheter and is part of Faktiskt.se, a new fact checking aggregator involving four established media houses and one fairly new digital initiative. The published stories of the applicant are impressive and relevant. However, there seems to be internal matters that needs to be solved at Dagens Nyheter regarding the status of the applicant as a fact-checking unit.
At dn.se, the applicant does not have a brand that can be found easily. Should the reader happen to read a story at dn.se that is part of the applicant initiative, the faktiskt.se logo is clearly visible (and during the evaluation period a link and a text has at times, but not always been provided directing the reader to the faktiskt.se initiative where more information can be found).
The problem is that the less informed dn.se reader (probably most readers) will not easily find the fact-checking initiative, or return to it among all dn.se articles in case they want to contact the journalists or read more stories from the fact checking applicant. It does not have a space of its own on the website. Furthermore, there is another initiative, “Fakta i frågan” that appears to be the official fact checking initiative of Dagens Nyheter, but separate from the applicant.
Several fact checking initiatives on one newspaper site appears a bit odd. Overall, the dn.se website is very logical, easy to navigate and information about the newspaper is clear and easy to read, thus the confusion with the two separate fact checking initiatives at the same site, one created as a unified channel and the other partly hidden is unfortunate. Especially as the fact checks made by the applicant, as well as the ones found at “Fakta i frågan” are of excellent quality!
To confuse the reader even more, both initiatives can get the same kind of tag “VAL 2018”, and the faktiskt.se articles are often using “Fakta i frågan” as a source.
It gets a bit more complicated. Faktiskt.se is a separate website with another set of rules than those of dn.se, but at the same time, the faktiskt.se website refers back to the rules of each participating media company, thus pointing back to dn.se where there is no dedicated space for the initiative and articles thus seems to be part of the regular operations.
Additionally, stories are behind a paywall. This is not a problem for those that subscribe to dn.se, but for those that enter an article from the faktiskt.se initiative and are not subscribers, the paywall prevents them to follow sources and use the provided links to claims and counter claims, these readers can only take part of the concluding verdict and a very short summary.
My recommendation would be to attend to the identified problems at the faktiskt.se initiative, and to make sure that there always is a link to the initiative following each dn.se story that is part of the initiative on the dn.se website. For the faktiskt.se initiative to be compliant with the IFCN criteria, I believe that fact-checked stories should be possible to access free of charge for readers that are entering stories through the faktiskt.se website (either following a link from the faktisk.se initiative to dn.se or as full content articles embedded on the faktiskt.se website). Not being able to access the full story as a non dn.se subscriber has a direct effect on transparency and credibility, as there are no links to sources and no possibility for readers to fact check the stories themselves, unless they are subscribers to dn.se. This is a problem not only for the faktiskt.se initiative (See also assessment sheet for faktiskt.se), but will affect credability negatively for Dagens Nyheter as well.
Similarly, not being able to find information about the “faktiskt” fact- checking sub section of dn.se also affects transparency and credabilty. Therefore, I recommend that the link and short text about faktiskt.se that at times has been attached to each story is permanently reinstated. An option would be to further develop the topic “faktiskt” on the website, making a clear unified channel for faktiskt.se at the dn.se website (as with “Fakta i frågan”). As of now, there is indeed a topic called “faktiskt” that readers can subscribe to, however, there is no information about the initiative connected to this topic.
Furthermore, a few more edits are needed:
2b) Provide an explanation of rules for non-partisanship for contributing staff.
4b) Make sure that all authors to stories are listed on Faktiskt.se, or explain why they are not.
Note: Södertörn University, Sweden has been involved in the development of Faktiskt.se initiative via the Vinnova funded project “Faktaassistenten”. The external assessor is employed by Södertörns Högskola, and has furthermore previously cooperated on other matters with project manager Johan Lindén, but has not in any way been involved in Faktiskt.se.