dpa-Faktencheck

Organization: dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Applicant: Stefan Voss
Assessor: Laurens Lauer
Conclusion and recommendations
on 10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

Laurens Lauer wrote:

The applicant is compliant with almost every single criteria and its approval is recommended.

The Deutsche Presse Agentur is well suited to provide impartial and reliable fact-checks and the fact-check project demonstrates a well thought-out approach on its website, which addresses and explains a wide array of requirements and guidelines. Two criteria (3a & 4c) are only partially fulfilled due to dpa's business model or role as news agency, and it would be beneficial to think about measures to ensure the transfer of the information in question (links & contact information) from the dpa’s fact-check into the client’s version.

on 10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

Laurens Lauer recommended Accept


Section 1: Organization

Criterion 1a
Proof of registration
Evidence required: Please provide evidence that the signatory is a legally-registered organization set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking or the distinct fact-checking project of a recognized media house or research institution.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The German Press Agency (dpa) was founded in 1949 and is one of the globally leading independent news agencies, comparable in purpose and structure to the Associated Press (AP). 

These are the first six paragraphs of the articles of incorporation of our company: http://docs.dpaq.de/14286-gesellschaftsvertrag.docx

We mainly produce editorial content like text, photos, infographics, audio, and video coverage as well as online content. Our clients are publishing houses, corporations, and organizations. Around 1000 journalists in 55 German locations as well as in 107 locations abroad work for the company. https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-regelnbusiness dpa gathers facts, conducts interviews with sources, covers and analyses newsworthy developments strictly based on the rules and principles established in our editorial statutes. No story is ever published if it hasn't been checked by at least two dpa journalists. Being right is always preferred to being first. Trust and truth are immensely important to everything we do. The business model is based on reliability. Errors and mistakes, which can happen, are always swiftly and transparently corrected (see chapter Korrekturregeln: https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-regeln). 

More information about our editorial principles: https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#aufbau-und-redaktionelle-grundsaetze

Fact-checking is the main part of our daily work in the editorial department since every information and story we publish has to be fact-checked beforehand. But we are also publishing dedicated fact-checking formats on a regular basis.

All details on our dedicated fact-checking operation: https://www.dpa.com/faktencheck






Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) is a for-profit news-agency that operates as German GmbH, which is a private company limited by shares, and has around 180 holders from the media sector only. They form the supervisory board of the company, whereby the maximal share is restricted to prevent single majorities, respectively to ensure independence (http://docs.dpaq.de/14296-gesellschaftsvertrag.pdf).


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Criterion 1b
Archive
Evidence required: Insert a link to the archive of fact checks published in the previous three months. If you do not collect all fact checks in one place, please explain how the fact-checking is conducted by your organization.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Per partnership agreement, dpa has to deliver its editorial products exclusively to the clients, while it is not allowed to publish its German language content directly to readers. For that reason we are not able to publish our fact-checks directly on our own website. But we are able to link to recent publications of our content on clients' websites as well as providing screen shots from the material in our archives. In the upcoming weeks we are going to replace this list with an automatic feed containing the publications on our clients' pages.

Link list: https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#aktuelle-dpa-faktenchecks


dpa-Factchecks regularly published by clients:

https://www.mt.de/weltnews/faktencheck

https://www.wn.de/Welt/Faktencheck



Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

As the applicant noted, the produced fact-checks are not directly accessible by the public via the dpa website. However, the applicant can provide links to fact-checks published by its clients and it is already doing it for the last 6 month, including both a link to the clients’ publication(s) as well as a (readable) screenshot of the original dpa version. This approach is meaningful since clients seem to be allowed to alter the original version (see also criteria 3a). The collection comprises 23 fact-checks in the last three month that largely tackle issues rather than single claims made by public figures and verify one or more facts in this context.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Section 2: Nonpartisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2a
Body of work sample
Evidence required: Please share links to ten fact checks that better represent the scope and consistency of your fact-checking. Provide a short explanation of how your organization strives to maintain coherent standards across fact checks.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

December 13th, 2018: PUBLIC BROADCASTING FEES (dpa version + clients' version: rtl.de)

While many fact-checks are conducted to examine claims from politicians or other persons of public interest, we also use fact-checks to question stereotypical public beliefs.  


December 12th, 2018: TERROR ATTACK IN STRASBOURG (dpa version + clients' version: stern.de)

We use the format "Was wir wissen. Was wir nicht wissen" (What we know and what we don't know) to provide a quick overview over verified facts about an ongoing situation and also to analyse and debunk rumors or hoaxes which are spread on social media and the internet.


December 12th, 2018: ARE SMARTPHONES MAKING YOU SICK? (dpa version + clients' version: Bild Zeitung)

We are not only fact-checking politicial issues, but take a broader approach. In this case our science desk conducted the fact-check supported by our fact-checking unit.


December 7th, 2018: CLIMATE CHANGE (dpa version + clients' version: Web.de)

In regular cases we try to answer in our fact-checks the one main disputed question, but in cases like this it is more helpful for the reader to split a very complex topic into several parts which have to be verified separately. 


November 27th, 2018: DONATIONS TO CHARITY ORGANIZATIONS (dpa version + clients' version: Zeit Online)

To provide consumers with timely fact-checks we are also picking topics not only based on newsworthy events, but also on seasonal reasons. 


November 23th, 2018: ASYLUM FOR REFUGEES (dpa version + clients' version: Wiesbadener Tagblatt)

Fact-checks don't always result in a clear and unambigious conclusion. In this case we factchecked the claim of a highly important politician and even if we were not able to answer all aspects, the result was still very valuable for the readers.  

November 21th, 2018: ILLEGAL PARTY FINANCING (dpa version + clients' version: Leipziger Volkszeitung)

November 9th 2018: GLOBAL COMPACT FOR MIGRATION (dpa version + clients' version: Huffingtonpost.de)

November 8th 2018: DID THE WHITE HOUSE SHARE A MANIPULATED VIDEO? (dpa version + clients' version:Stuttgarter Zeitung)

November 5th 2018: EMISSIONS SCANDAL (dpa version + clients' version: Berliner Zeitung)


Ideally a dpa fact-check contains the parts "Claim", "Assessment" and "Facts". This format ist supposed to provide great clarity for the readers. What exactly is the claim? How is dpa assessing the claim? And on what facts is the dpa's verdict based? The evulation should contain a clear verdict: "The claim is right (or wrong)." But it's also possible that we have to use "softer" verdicts, if the case is not black and white. Then we use phrases like "is mostly true" or "is mostly wrong". 

Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The provided fact-checks show a focus on issues rather than single statements made by politicians or alike, yet related claims can be part of these fact-checks, too. The fact-checks cover a broad range of subjects, they are clearly structured and do not unduly concentrate on one side of the topic/context. Further, dpa clearly states and explains shortcomings in case of missing information and differentiates its verdicts accordingly (see for example http://docs.dpaq.de/14281-181212fcstrassburg.pdf and http://docs.dpaq.de/14280-181212fcsmartphone.pdf).


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Criterion 2b
Nonpartisanship policy
Evidence required: Please share evidence of your policy preventing staff from direct involvement in political parties and advocacy organizations. Please also indicate the policy your organization has as a whole regarding advocacy and supporting political candidates.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Journalists working for dpa are free and independent in their reporting. We stand up for truth and facts and don't declare any support to political parties, religious or cultural beliefs, any industry or other interest group.

The employment contracts of every editorial staff states clearly: "The employee is obliged to obeying the fundamental rules of the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), wihich state that the production of dpa services has to be impartial and independent from influences by parties, groups with ideologies, economic and financial institutions, and governments." Those rules are also valid for the company's leadership. They are also incorporated in the partnership contract (Article 5: http://docs.dpaq.de/14286-gesellschaftsvertrag.docx)

Files Attached
dpa_contract.jpg (181 KB) dpa_contract.jpg (181 KB)
Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The Deutsche Presse Agentur lays down clear rules concerning both the non-partisanship of the organization (see criteria 1 and here: https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#aufbau-und-redaktionelle-grundsaetze) as well as its journalists (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-regeln). In addition, the organization includes a corresponding clause in the employee contracts (see attached DPA contract excerpt).


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Section 3: Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3a
Sources Policy
Please share a brief and public explanation (500 words max) of how sources are provided in enough detail that readers could replicate the fact check. If you have a public policy on how you find and use sources for your fact-checking, it should be shared here.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Journalists at dpa try to present their fact-checks in the most transparent way possible. By that we hold ourselves accountable for the way we research and work. We are e.g. including all hyperlinks to public information in our articles. Our goal is to provide our fact-checks in a way that all readers are able to replicate the fact-checking using these hyperlinks. They can, for example, check in public documents if we used the correct figures. Ideally we put the readers in the position of being able to evaluate dpa’s working method and researching topics even further. If we are not able to link directly to websites containing the information we used we make sure to mention in our Facts Checks from which source the information came and how we obtained it.

For more details please check: https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faq

Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The applicant provides a list of links to all sources used at the end of each fact-check and it does mention the source if it is not able to provide a link. In more general, the initiative declares that readers should be able to reproduce the fact-checks by their own and it considers the links as necessary precondition to do so (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-regeln). However, the fact-checks published by the clients do not always include the links and some rule or mechanism to ensure their transfer from the dpa-version into the client’s version (like in-text links) seems to be very useful to guarantee their disclosure to the reader.


done 3a marked as Partially compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Section 4: Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4a
Funding Sources
Evidence required: Please link to the section where you publicly list your sources of funding (including, if they exist, any rules around which types of funding you do or don't accept), or a statement on ownership if you are the branch of an established media organization or research institution.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The Deutsche Presse Agentur lays down clear rules for investments, respectively share holdings (see criteria 1), and provides extensive information about its finances (https://geschaeftsbericht2017.dpa.com/de/geschaeftsbericht-2017/geschaeftsbericht-2017) as well as its own holdings and subsidiaries (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/dpa-gruppe/).


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Criterion 4b
Staff
Evidence required: Please link to the section detailing all authors and key actors behind your fact-checking project with their biographies. You can also list the name and bios of the members of the editorial board, pool of experts, advisory board, etc. if your organization has those.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

The Deutsche Presse Agentur fully discloses both the management of the company (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/eigentuemer-leitung/#eigentuemer-amp-leitung) as well as the members of the fact-checking team (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-team). This includes, particularly in the latter case, short biographies, the field of expertise, and the respective responsibilities.   


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Criterion 4c
Contact
Evidence required: Please link to the section where readers can get in touch with the organization.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Editorial department: https://www.dpa.com/de/kontakt/redaktion/

Communications department: https://www.dpa.com/de/kontakt/pressestelle/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dpa (remark: all our fact-checks will be tweeted with the hashtag #dpafaktencheck)

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeutschePresseAgenturGmbH/

Linked.In: https://www.linkedin.com/company/deutsche-presse-agentur/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dpa_com

Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The applicant provides a variety of ways to contact the fact-checking team including e-mail,Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, and Instagram. The project website also states that readers are welcome to submit suggestions for fact-checks and corrections/criticism. However, this information might not reach the readers since the dpa fact-checks published by the clients do not always clearly disclose the origin of the fact-check (dpa) neither provide the dpa contact information. Readers can directly contact the publisher of course, though they might not pass on the information to dpa (see criteria 3a for similar problem).


done 4c marked as Partially compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Section 5: Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5a
Detailed Methodology
Evidence required: Please link to a section or article detailing the steps you follow for your fact-checking work.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The applicant provides comprehensive information about its verification approach (objectives and quality standards), the procedures (selection criteria, research techniques) and the final output (structure of pieces, verdicts). Moreover, it refers to several Youtube videos that explain several basic techniques in more detail (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faq).


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Criterion 5b
Claim submissions
Evidence required: Please link to the page or process through which readers can submit claims to fact-check. If you do not allow this, please briefly explain why.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago)

The applicant indicates clearly how readers can submit suggestions for fact-checks, explains in length on which criteria it selects claims or topics to check, and provides information on the length of the verification process (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-regeln; https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faq).


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Section 6: Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6a
Corrections policy
Evidence required: Please link to the page with your policy to address corrections. If it is not public, please share your organization's handbook.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

See section "Korrekturregeln": https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-regeln

We mostly receive alerts about presumed errors as well as complaints and requests via Twitter at https://twitter.com/dpa, which we always take seriously. Furthermore, our clients can always reach us via our B2B web-portal www.dpa-news.com where they among other things alert us about complaints they have received by their readership about certain stories. We are also reachable around the clock for the public by phone under the numbers posted in our contacts section (https://www.dpa.com/de/kontakt/redaktion).

Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

The Deutsche Presse Agency has a correction policy and discloses the rules as well as examples on its website (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faq/). This holds true for the fact-checking project, too. Besides general information on how it deals with errors (https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faktencheck/#faktencheck-regeln), the applicant provides two different examples that demonstrate corrections (http://docs.dpaq.de/14293-07d79816-b7f9-4102-8b5f-7d56832deaa4__1_.pdf) and retractions (http://docs.dpaq.de/14294-f27745a3-a3ae-4fbb-85d0-0c2ecdb28aaf.pdf) in practice.   


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.

Criterion 6b
Examples of corrections
Evidence required: Please provide two examples of a correction made, or correction requests handled, in the past year.

dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
13-Dec-2018 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago
Laurens Lauer Assessor
10-Jan-2019 (3 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

See examples above for the fact-checking project and statements below "Macht die dpa Fehler?" here: https://www.dpa.com/de/unternehmen/faq/. 


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Laurens Lauer.