FactCheck.org

Organization: FactCheck.org
Applicant: Eugene Kiely
Assessor: Steve Fox
Conclusion and recommendations
on 16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

Steve Fox wrote:

This organization should be accepted. Recommended edits are suggested below.

on 16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

Steve Fox 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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

We are a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, as indicated on our About Us page: http://www.factcheck.org/about/our-mission/

Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The “About Us” section is thorough in outlining the status of the organization.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)
Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The Archives section has its own link on the top-level navigation of the site. Not only is it prominently featured but it’s organized by both subject names and topics. So, not only can the user find past fact-checks on President Trump, but on health care as well. That’s a real bonus.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

We explain our process here: http://www.factcheck.org/our-process/

In short, we have a process for selecting, reviewing and editing stories in a way that strives to maintain fairness and balance. When selecting material to write about, we seek to devote an equal amount of time reviewing claims by Republicans and Democrats. We systematically go through transcripts and videos looking for statements based on facts. Once we find a statement that we suspect may be inaccurate or misleading, we will engage – or attempt to engage – with the person or organization that is being fact-checked. The burden is on the person or organization making the claim to provide the evidence to support it. If the supporting material does not support the claim or if no evidence is provided, then we will conduct research of our own. After a story is written, it goes through several layers of editing and review. As many as four people who were not involved in writing or researching the story will edit and fact check the story for completeness, accuracy and fairness.

Here are links to 10 fact checks about Donald Trump and his opponent, Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 election:

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/11/the-final-push-trump/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/11/the-final-push-clinton/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/09/factchecking-the-first-debate/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/factchecking-the-second-presidential-debate/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/10/factchecking-the-final-presidential-debate-2/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/clintons-greatest-hits/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/07/trumps-greatest-hits/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/05/ig-report-on-clintons-emails/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/04/clinton-overstates-nuclear-achievement/

http://www.factcheck.org/2016/05/trumps-tall-tabloid-tale/

Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The editors appear to do a strong job of balancing their fact-checking analyses between the two candidates during the last campaign cycle. Overall, the writing approach is also strong and disdain of then-candidate Trump that you see from other news organizations appears to be absent. 


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

We have a policy that staffers and students must sign that states they cannot be involved in any political or advocacy organizations, and they cannot make any contributions to such organizations. I can upload a copy, if necessary. 

Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The policy on advocacy and not being involved in political organizations lacks transparency.

According to the editors: “We have a policy that staffers and students must sign that states they cannot be involved in any political or advocacy organizations, and they cannot make any contributions to such organizations.” 

While this policy is important to have, it’s purely an internal document right now. Given today’s media environment and the repeated claims of “fake news,” FactCheck.org would do well to be transparent about this policy and to publish its policy prominently on the site. A public explanation as to how this is enforced and how staff are prevented from taking part in advocacy would be helpful as well.


done 2b marked as Partially compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

We provide links embedded in our stories to all sources that we use in writing our Wire stories. For Featured Articles and Ask FactCheck items, we list sources at the end of the stories. These links are used by our staff to fact check each and every fact that we use in our story before it is published -- ensuring that our readers replicate the fact check, too. 

Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The editors do a solid job of linking. Clearly there is an effort to link on background and supporting material, and editors appear to take great care in linking the appropriate key words rather than linking randomly. However, I would be curious to know what the click-through rates are. 

On parts of the site, including “Ask FactCheck,” the sources are listed at the bottom of the story. That approach seems to be more transparent and includes the context of the headline and is the approach I would recommend in addition to linking.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)
Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The transparency on detailing the funding of FactCheck.org is exceptional. Two suggestions to increase transparency even more would be to include the individual donors beyond those who contribute more than $1,000 and also link to the bios or LinkedIn pages of top donors.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)
Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

Missing


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)
Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

While there is a “Contact Us” section, the link is a sub-item of the “About Us” drop down menu option or at the bottom of each page. Relocating the link to right above “SciCheck” would make it more immediately reachable by the audience.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)
Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The editors also do an outstanding job of outlining the methodology behind their fact-checking. Outlining the editing process, as the editors do on the “Our Process” page should make all readers feel pretty good about the methodology here.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)
Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

When I first saw the “Ask FactCheck” section, I didn’t register with me that this was the interactive element with the audience. It’s not made clear that this question is from a reader nor that this is an ongoing interactive element. A few simple word changes – or identifying the reader asking the question – might help let first-time visitors know what’s going on here. I would also suggest finding a way to prominently feature the “Key Characteristics to Bogusness.” That’s fact-checking gold!


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Steve Fox.

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.

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)
Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

The Corrections policy is published on the “Our Process” page.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.

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

FactCheck.org
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

We gave the wrong date for when ACA employer requirements went into effect in this story: http://www.factcheck.org/2017/02/groundhog-day/

We gave inaccurate information on Blue Cross Blue Shield's net losses on ACA plans in North Carolina: http://www.factcheck.org/2017/03/gops-obamacare-obituary-premature/

Steve Fox Assessor
16-May-2017 (3 years ago)

Corrections themselves are usually at the bottom or the story. While corrected story carry a light gray “Corrected” annotation at the top, a more prominent tag would help the reader find out about the error more easily.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Steve Fox.