Our readers may find the general explanation on how we work and more details on our methodology and rating system in the 'About' section. We have three categories of ratings - truthfulness (scale from true to false), consistency (scale from consistent to inconsistent) and promises (scale from promise kept to not even started). All the ratings are followed by short and simple explanation, which enable readers to understand core methodology. We have recently updated the page with two new ratings, which were adopted after long debate as our experience showed there were claims that did not fit any of the existing ratings.
As explained before, we contact the actor whose claim is being fact checked and we search for official data. However, in number of cases, we receive no reply from the actor and we are unable to find official data necessary to establish the rating - in most cases there is no publicly available data and institutions are ignoring our queries, and there is no credible, independent source which could provide facts and data. When such cases occur, we would do the research, come to a dead end and quit, or in best case scenario, we would write an analysis, instead of rating. As this was not a rare case, we have decided not to quit, but to be open to our readers and explain the whole process, what we did, what we searched for, whom we contacted. We give all the information we have and explain what is missing and why and we rate the claim as unverifiable.
Another rating which was recently added is misuse of facts - for the claims that are literally true, but come with the enormous but. They are usually taken out of context which is much more important for the whole picture rather than the fact itself.
Selection of the clams for the fact checks is made at the editorial meetings. We usually chose recent claims, important statements where there is a strong public interest. We never fact check claims only to prove someone was wrong. We examine something if we believe there is a demand for verified facts on certain topic. We may have assumption whether something is true or false before we commence fact checking. However, we never look for arguments that support our initial hypothesis, but we search for data and strong arguments which will enable us to make a firm conclusion based on facts.
Further details on our methodology and the step-by-step process are explained in the Criterion 3. Istinomer also has internal procedures regarding methodology that explain steps in creation of Istinomer's fact checks. These internal procedures oblige Istinomer journalists: to contact the actor for comment and/or data, to always refer to official information/research/statistical data (when possible), to contact the expert (individual or organization) for more information about researched topic, to follow the copyright rules (especially for photos), to make sure we are consistent in our own work over time and, etc.