Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group

Organization: Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
Applicant: Jan Jagers
Assessor: Henk van Ess
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

We introduced the changes from September 24 onwards. Following the newly added procedures, two fact-checks have been published so far:

(1) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-vrouwen-snurken-bijna-even-veel-als-mannen/article-longread-1512899.html

(2) https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-melk-helpt-het-beste-bij-pikant-eten/article-longread-1515327.html

Here is an overview of what we introduced since our Skype-meeting some weeks ago.

Concerning the issues where Knack got the score "partially compliant":

(criterion 3a) As suggested, we add more and clear hyperlinks underneath every fact-check in a list of sources ("bronnen").

(criterion 4a) Underneath the fact-check, we also add a clear hyperlink to the media house (logo + "Knack maakt onderdeel uit van Roularta Media Group".

(criterion 6a) Concerning the edit policy, following the new standard procedure, we clarify what the update was and why it was necessary.

e.g. "* Bijgewerkt op 26/09/19 om 15:24, om bronvermeldingen en hyperlinks toe te voegen aan het artikel."

Aside from those absolutely necessary changes to meet IFCN standards, I am glad to inform you that we also followed up on suggestions made in the assessment:

(1) All our fact-checks are, as they already were at the time we applied for that matter, freely open to the public. No registration needed, no paywall. You can scroll down to the very first fact-check published online, on http://www.knack.be/factchecker (criterion 1a/1b)

(2) The words “online since 2017” have been added to the about-article. A link to the full fact-check archive has been added there, behind "sinds 28 juni 2017 ook online") (criterion 1b)

(3) The email address lezers@knack.be has been replaced by factchecker@knack.be in the about-article. An extra text frame has been added to the about-article on how readers can make suggestions for new fact-checks ("suggesties") (criterion 4c/5b)

(4) A short version of the bio of the author of the fact-check is now standardly presented at the top of the fact-check (criterion 4b). Click on the name and you see a full list of his/her fact-checks ever made and published online. The full version of the bio remains open and clear in the about-article.


Conclusion and recommendations
on 05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago)

Henk van Ess wrote:

Legally registered media outlet Knack is a Flemish (Belgian) magazine with a website.

Most articles in Factchecking are freely accessible, but not all. We suggest applicant opens all material of Knack Factchecker to the public without any restrictions like registering or paywalls.

Not all articles have a direct hyperlink to the source. We suggest that the "rule of thumb" to provide "all possible hyperlinks" is followed more strictly.

Applicant claims a broad scope of themes. But 80% of a sample of articles was about just three topics. We suggest applicant changes "broad scope" into "concentrate on health, work and gender related issues" on their public page about the project.

The edit-policy is not transparent. There is most of the time no explanation why the update was necessary and what the update is. 


on 05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago)

Henk van Ess recommended Accept with edits


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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Knack Factchecker (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/) has been a weekly section in our print and online publication for more than six years now. Knack Magazine (www.knack.be) is a publication of the media company Roularta Media Group, a Belgian listed multi-media group with over 1,500 employees and a total combined turnover of 400 million euros. The media company was established back in 1954. Some twenty years later the first issue of Knack Magazine appeared, in 1971. The first Knack Factchecker appeared in 2012 (pdf attached).

More details on the company and its foundation are stated in the 'about' on the website of Roularta Media Group (https://www.roularta.be/en/about-roularta/our-company)

An overview of all the media products of Roularta Media Group can be found on the 'our brands' section on the website of the company. For more details on Knack Magazine in particular: https://www.roulartamedia.be/en/brands/magazines/knack.



Files Attached
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Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Legally registered media outlet. Knack is a Flemish (Belgian) weekly magazine with a website that allows access to three articles per month for free but only after you open an account. Access to Knack Factchecker is partly restricted. Some fact checks (f.e. about chocolate and ugly men) are not available to the general public. Visitors are asked to take a subscription or register. We suggest to be as transparent as possible and open all material of Knack Factchecker to the public.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Our fact checks are published and archived on the separate Knack Factchecker section https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/.

The online and freely accessible archive goes back to May 2017.

Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Applicant claims in 1A that Knack Factchecker has been a weekly section "in our print and online publication for more than six years now". In this section,1B , applicant claims the online archive is active since 2017 which seems to be correct. Therefore we suggest to edit the text in 1A into" Knack Factchecker (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/) has been a weekly section in our print since 2012 and online since 2017.

On knack.be/nieuws/factchecker we found over 90 articles. The oldest article is from May 3 2017. The archive doesn't allow to handpick month, weeks or years. Some visitors can scroll down for the next few postings and repeat this process till the last posting. But this (slow) navigation is not supported by all browsers which show only 20 articles. A suggested shortcut is not working. Under each article it says "Read all articles about Factchecker" (we suggest to change this text in "Read all articles from Factchecker") the link https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factchecker/groupement-normal-1195507.html doesn't show "all articles'. Only 20 articles are shown, not 90+. We suggest to fix this. Some other suggestions: use tags so people can browse on interests and be more transparent about your edits, see also 6A.



done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Knack Factchecker works in accordance with the Code of Principles of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), which has been translated and published on our website in the 'about' section of Knack Factchecker. (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html)

As a rule, the editor in chief decides which claim is being checked, on the basis of contextualized suggestions of the author of Knack Factchecker.

In the claim selection we follow classic news selection criteria such as topicality, proximity, social relevance, interest and curiosity of the reader. We intend to present a broad variety of subjects, and steer clear from any bias as to the political affiliations of politicians discussed. In our claim selection the following conditions also apply:

• The claim we verify must actually be verifiable.

• Opinions - opinions about facts - are not verifiable, and therefore fall outside the scope of Knack Factchecker.

• The claim cannot be a prediction, because the future cannot be verified. Exceptions to this principle are claims that are based on scientific research and / or prognoses.

• We aim for a broad scope in themes (health, mobility, crime, environment, migration, taxes ...) as well as political position (government / opposition) and nature of the woman or man who makes the statement (called 'sender'). Those senders must have public resonance and influence. In a non-exhaustive list, it concerns politicians, media, scientists, top civil servants, interest groups, pressure groups, pundits, business leaders, etc.

• Sources for claim selection can be found in parliamentary debates, current affairs programs on radio, television and online, advertising, talk shows, social media, newspaper coverage, political campaign material, etc.

• The claim must be controversial. That means that some people have questions about its truthfulness. Those people can be political opponents, scientists, on topic experts, readers, or ourselves.

• The claim must be relevant. Whether it is correct or not, must make a difference in the public debate and / or in the everyday life of our readers.

• The entertainment value of a claim discussed in Knack Factchecker can be an argument when selecting claims that are less relevant for public debate.

• Do we publish Knack Factchecker on claims that are correct? Yes. We focus on news and claims that seem too strong to be true, but we do publish when they indeed turn out to be so. To tell the story 'why'.

• The claim must be verifiable and its context should be clear. Where and when it was launched on the public forum, and by whom, must be exactly known and verifiable.

• Readers can also make suggestions.

Knack Factchecker checks claims from all different political parties, but also claims from other 'senders' such as other media outlets and/or influencers/experts who make claims concerning their field of expertise.

In the following list we are happy to share ten fact checks to illustrate our scope and standard procedure (infra, criteria 3a/5a):

1. 'Monthly costs asylum seeker: 2255 euro's' (sender: Vlaams Belang, populist right political party, election propaganda; topic: migration/asylum)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factcheck-maandelijkse-kost-asielzoeker-2255-euro/article-longread-1188183.html

2. '2 out of 3 employees feel too tired to enjoy free time' (sender: Groen, green political party, referring to reported research; topic: economy/wellbeing)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-2-op-de-3-werknemers-voelen-zich-te-moe-om-te-genieten-van-vrije-tijd/article-longread-1179223.html

3. '56 European cities offer free public transport' (sender: PvdA, extreme left political party, election propaganda; topic: mobility, public transport)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factcheck-56-europese-steden-bieden-gratis-openbaar-vervoer/article-longread-1377083.html

4. 'Our number of nurses per hospital bed is at the level of Bulgaria and Greece' (sender: Maggie De Block, minister in office of Open VLD, right-wing liberal political party; topic: health care)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-ons-aantal-verpleegkundigen-per-ziekenhuisbed-zit-op-het-niveau-van-bulgarije-en-griekenland/article-longread-1425681.html

5. 'The plastic bag is 20,000 times more environmentally friendly than the cotton ecobag' (sender: Doorbraak, Flemish conservative opinion website; topic: environment/climate)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/wetenschap/factcheck-de-plastic-zak-is-20-000-keer-milieuvriendelijker-dan-de-katoenen-ecotas/article-longread-1392417.html

6. 'Cars are parked 95 percent of the time' (sender: Mikael Colville-Andersen, ceo Copenhagenize Design Company, expert who promotes bicycles; topic: mobility)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factcheck-auto-s-staan-95-procent-van-de-tijd-geparkeerd/article-longread-1202843.html

7. 'Full bush is the healthiest pubic hair style' (sender: Metro, media outlet reporting on recent research; topic: health)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/gezondheid/factcheck-volle-bos-is-de-gezondste-schaamhaarstijl/article-longread-1395851.html

8. 'Half of all job seekers live in poverty' (sender: Matthias Somers, expert at the leftist think tank Minerva; topic: poverty; author of this fact-check: Jef Van Baelen - different author, same standard procedure)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-de-helft-van-alle-werkzoekenden-leeft-in-armoede/article-longread-1181575.html

9. '70 percent of Muslim women have no job' (sender: Hicham El Mzairh, politician, SP.A, socialist party; topic: integration / religion / economy)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-70-procent-van-de-moslimvrouwen-heeft-geen-werk/article-longread-899403.html

10. 'The slower you talk, the more confident you come across' (sender: Goedele Leyssen, health and yoga consultant; topic: psychology, personal growth/success)

https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-hoe-trager-je-praat-hoe-zelfverzekerder-je-overkomt/article-longread-1156827.html

Knack Factchecker appears both in the paper magazine and online. The number of words of the piece is fixed, so that the text and the illustration do not exceed one page in Knack Magazine on paper (see example attached). The fact check is not an exhaustive and complete overview of what the journalistic research has brought to the fore, but a concise and manageable article that reflects the reasoning and the most important sources that lead to the conclusion.

Files Attached
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Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Applicant uses the IFCN code and translated it into Dutch. Because applicant meets most of the criteria for 2A, we gave a "Fully compliant". But we do think there is room for improvement.

Applicant claims in https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html a broad scope in themes ("health, mobility, crime, environment, migration, taxes")

We studied almost 50% of all published articles (=46 articles) and found that over 80% of the those articles were about three topics. The number 1 is health (23x), followed by 2. Work/economics (8) and 3. Gender or race related (7). We suggest applicant either changes "broad scope" into "concentrate on health, work and gender related issues" or starts to factcheck a broader range of topics.



 


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

As stated in the 'about' section, Knack Factchecker is an autonomous and independent form of journalism (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html).

'Our ambition is to present truthful facts, without the influence of any ideological agenda or bias. To ensure unbiased and neutral treatment of allegations, the journalists behind Knack Factchecker are not politically active. They participate in the political process as voters because they have that responsibility as a citizen, but they avoid public expression of any political opinion whatsoever, and try to avoid any appearance of bias.

We avoid and prohibit everything that might compromise the Knack Factchecker and our ability to work independently and honestly.'


Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The applicant is an active player in organizing political debates, see https://acties.knack.be/default/acties/knack/verkiezingsdebatten/ But fact checks about political topics are rare in Knack Factchecker. In the few we found, we didn't notice a specific hyper focus on certain parties or spokespersons.


done_all 2b marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

As a rule of thumb, we provide all possible hyperlinks to the evidence that is cited and/or used in the fact check, so that readers can check the original source(s) for themselves. At the bottom of Knack Factchecker in the paper version we provide a shortened hyperlink to the online version of the story with the hyperlinks.

The way the research was conducted is reflected in the Knack Factchecker so that readers can follow the process, and see how and why we came to our conclusion.



Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Not all articles have a direct hyperlink to the source, f.e https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factchecker-factor-50-zorgt-voor-een-bruine-huid/article-longread-1472261.html , and https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factchecker-wie-barbecuet-neemt-giftige-stoffen-uit-rook-op-via-de-huid/article-longread-1469741.html 

Sometimes this is because of the fact that the information is behind a paywall. But we found a few articles that were based on public sources without a hyperlink to the original, f.e https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factchecker-1-187-000-belgen-zitten-aan-de-morfine/article-longread-908015.html doesn't hyperlink to https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factchecker-1-187-000-belgen-zitten-aan-de-morfine/article-longread-908015.html


We suggest that the "rule of thumb" to provide "all possible hyperlinks" is followed more strictly. 



done 3a marked as Partially compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

As pointed out in section 1 of this application form, Knack Factchecker is a section of Knack Magazine, "the news magazine par excellence in Flanders" of the listed media company Roularta Media Group.

Knack Factchecker is reimbursed per article on a freelance basis. The funding comes from the general editorial budget of Knack Magazine.

The most recent annual and financial reports of the company are published on its website. These reports have free access, and are to be found here (https://www.roularta.be/en/roularta-stock-market/financial/annual-reports).



Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We can't find in knack.be a clear hyperlink to the media house under Contact, besides in a shop, https://shop.knack.be/contact and other not so prominent places. On https://www.knack.be/info/contact-info/article-service-103138.html there is mention of Roularta Media Group, but no hyperlink to the source.

At the bottom of each page there is a logo with (C) 2019 Roularta Media Group but also no hyperlink. 

We suggest to hyperlink either the logo to https://www.roularta.be/nl/home or put the hyperlink in https://www.knack.be/info/contact-info/article-service-103138.html 


done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

All fact checks carry the byline of authors.

The list of all authors and key actors behind Knack Factchecker, together with their biographies, is published on the website of Knack Magazine in the 'about' section (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html).

An example is given below. The main author of Knack Factchecker is Jan Jagers:

'Jan Jagers (°1979), holder of a PhD in political and social sciences, is an independent freelance journalist. He writes for Knack since 2007 and has been our regular Factchecker since the beginning of the section in October 2012. In 2006 he obtained his PhD at the University of Antwerp with a doctorate on populism among Flemish political parties (De Stem van het Volk!, 2006; https://www.uantwerpen.be/images/uantwerpen/container2608/files/Jagers%20-%20PHD.pdf). From 2001 to 2006 he worked at the University of Antwerp as a fellow of the Research Foundation - Flanders (www.fwo.be). He was part of the research group Media, Movements and Politics (M2P, https://www.uantwerpen.be/en/research-groups/m2p/). Besides freelance journalist, currently Jagers is also assistant professor in journalism at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where he supervises students with their master's thesis on investigative journalism.'


Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

We checked if all authors of all 90+ articles have a byline and a bio. They do. We do suggest that when clicking on an author name, not just the articles are shown, but also the bio directly. See https://www.knack.be/nieuws/auteurs/jan-jagers-2873.html


done_all 4b marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

Readers are actively invited to send their suggestions, complaints, compliments, comments and questions to the editors of Knack Factchecker via e-mail. The address lezersbrieven@knack.be is mentioned at the bottom of every fact check and in the 'about' page of Knack Factchecker.

(https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html)

Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The address lezersbrieven@knack.be is not used anymore on Knack Factchecker. Instead of this address, factchecker@knack.be is the method for readers to get in touch with the organization. We suggest applicant edits this in 4C and also on https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

A step-by-step explanation of the methodology used by Knack Factchecker is given below. 

Each fact check is different and each claim requires a specific investigation. Yet we have and follow a standard procedure (supra, criterion 2a).

As a first step in the research, we generally contact the sender of the claim and ask the sender which source(s) the claim is based on and what exactly is meant by it. We ask for the factual ground and documents or research on which the statement is based, with the request to view the evidence for ourselves. Does the claim follow from the proof that has been submitted? That is the first question.

Next, we use various journalistic methods as transparently as possible to investigate the factual basis of the claim. We look for (official) figures, (scientific) research, reports ... and use inter alia expert interviews - for example with academics from the subject area - to find out the true facts. If the claim does not follow from the evidence provided, taking into account the context from which it comes, then why is that so? And whether or not it follows from it, what do other research and domain experts say about the same subject? We continue to ask these questions until the saturation point is reached and a conclusion can be made with facts and insights according to our standards.

In our assessment we distinguish four categories: true, rather true, rather untrue, and false:

True: In both spirit and letter, the claim follows from the evidence and/or matches in its original context with the other factual knowledge and insights collected during the investigation. No exaggerations. No inaccuracies. No deception. No omission of significant facts necessary to understand the claim correctly.

Rather true: The claim follows sufficiently from the evidence and/or is, in its original context, sufficiently in line with the other factual knowledge and insights collected during the investigation. Significant facts or context to understand the claim correctly are missing. There may be some exaggeration.

Rather untrue: The claim does not follow sufficiently from the evidence provided and/or is, in its original context, insufficiently in line with the other factual knowledge and insights collected during the investigation. Facts and/or context contradict the claim, are used incorrectly and/or present a clearly misleading message. However, the claim is not demonstrably wrong.

False: The claim is demonstrably wrong. It follows insufficiently or not from the evidence and/or does not match, in its context, with the other factual knowledge and insights collected during the investigation.

We use 'reasonableness' as standard in our conclusions. Details are important. However, also an assertion that has not been proven 100 percent can be called 'true' if the arguments lead to this conclusion.

The burden of proof of the accuracy of the claim lies with the sender.

Knack Factchecker relies on information and facts as they were available at the time of the verification process. The fact check is therefore always time-bound. What was true yesterday, might that be less or no longer today. Just as we cannot control the future, we have to reckon with the fact that the future offers different answers than we have today.

The experts cited as authoritative sources have, as a general rule, reviewed and approved the manner in which they are cited.

Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

5A is about the question: is the methodology clear and in an accessible place? Knack goes to great length to explain the process. But applicant doesn't mention in 5A the accessible place: https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

As has been stated previously in this application form, readers are actively invited to send their suggestions and claims to fact-check via e-mail. The address lezersbrieven@knack.be is mentioned at the bottom of every fact check and on the 'about' page of Knack Factchecker. (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html)

Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Reader feedback is allowed. But the e-mail address is not lezersbrieven@knack.be but factchecker@knack.be


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.

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.

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

In the 'about' section of Knack Factchecker we unfold our policy to address corrections. (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/alles-wat-u-moet-weten-over-de-factchecker-van-knack/article-longread-1437751.html)

Fact-checkers also make mistakes. Knack applies the principle that any errors are acknowledged equitably and corrected as quickly as possible in all due transparency.

As stated above in this application form, complaints and comments can be sent by e-mail to the editors of Knack Factchecker via lezersbrieven@knack.be.

Messages will always be read and handled by the author of the fact check after consulting with the editor in chief.

If the supplied argument and/or the additional information is such that the fact check has to be revised and corrected, we immediately revise the text online. In case of major errors, this revision is mentioned explicitly, so that it is clear to readers what went wrong. In the paper magazine, we publish a correction in the appropriate section in the next issue.

If the argument provided and/or the additional information is not crucial to the evaluation in the fact check, but nonetheless relevant or useful, we will provide this information as an update at the bottom of the article.

In both cases - both the crucial and the other corrections and adjustments, the message 'updated on' appears at the top of the article with the hour and the date of the update.

Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

The edit-policy is not transparent. For example, in https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factcheck-56-europese-steden-bieden-gratis-openbaar-vervoer/article-longread-1377083.html it says the article is from 10/10/2018 and updated December 28, 2018 - but there is no explanation why the update was necessary and what the update is. It could be a automatic date stamp of the CMS of Knack - but that is unclear to the reader. The readers should not only what the update date is, but why. See also 6B.

Applicant uses wrong e-mail address,  not lezersbrieven@knack.be but factchecker@knack.be


done 6a marked as Partially compliant by Henk van Ess.

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

Knack Magazine, Roularta Media Group
03-Mar-2019 (9 months ago) Updated: 9 months ago

In the past year we have received exactly two correction requests. Both of them from 'senders', requests to change our conclusion on the rating scale.

The first request came from Klaas Slootmans, press officer of the right-wing Flemish party Vlaams Belang. It concerned the fact check on the cost of asylum seekers which has already been mentioned (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factcheck-maandelijkse-kost-asielzoeker-2255-euro/article-longread-1188183.html).

Following procedures, the author of the fact check discussed the request - the e-mail and its content - with the editor in chief. As a result of that discussion, we explicitly added the fact that we received an e-mail from Klaas Slootmans after publication at the bottom of the article. We cited an argument that Mr Slootmans had given us before and that we had taken into account when drawing our conclusion, but the argument had not made it into the article due to the fact that the argument was not relevant for the conclusion and the limitations in terms of length of the paper version of the Knack Factchecker section. We answered the e-mail (see e-mails attached). We did not receive any further reaction from Vlaams Belang.

The second request for revision came from Kristoff De Winne on behalf of Matexi. It concerned the fact check on the claim that ‘Renovated homes consume twice as much (energy) than new homes’ (https://www.knack.be/nieuws/factchecker/factcheck-gerenoveerde-woningen-verbruiken-twee-keer-meer-dan-nieuwbouwwoningen/article-longread-1411903.html). Like Slootmans, De Winne asked us to revise our conclusion. However, he did not provide us with any new information or arguments that would lead to a different evaluation. Essentially, De Winne repeated what he had told and written us before.

Following procedures, the author of the fact check discussed the matter internally with the editor in chief. Since no new information was given, the complaint was judged to be irrelevant. We replied to Kristoff De Winne’s letter and asked Matexi to write a letter of complaint, which would be published in our next issue.

They chose not to do that (‘to avoid coming into a polemic, where both parties are right’) (see e-mails attached).



Files Attached
picture_as_pdf 2019 01 03_e-mail Kr... (123 KB) picture_as_pdf 2018 08 22_e-mail Kl... (71 KB)
Henk van Ess Assessor
05-Jun-2019 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Applicant lists feedback on the Factcheck page, but we like to raise the question if there is a clear distinction between factchecking of Knack and reader feedback.

Mr Klaas Slootmans, a Flemish politician, is allowed to have the last word in the article in a prominent grey box straight after the verdict of Knack, https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factcheck-maandelijkse-kost-asielzoeker-2255-euro/article-longread-1188183.html?cookie_check=1559728826 c

He is allowed to claim that Knack's  factcheck result rather not true" "is even a conservative calculation". This leaves the reader puzzled: they just read a dissection of facts by Knack making clear the claim is not true. But the politician can say the opposite.

Applicant claims that "we explicitly added the fact that we received an e-mail from Klaas Slootmans". There is no mention of an e-mail in the article, just that he responded.

The edit-date seems to be wrong. According to the e-mail, mr Slootmans complained on Aug 22 2018 17:34 - within an hour of publication moment. The update on https://www.knack.be/nieuws/belgie/factcheck-maandelijkse-kost-asielzoeker-2255-euro/article-longread-1188183.html?cookie_check=1559728826 doesn't say Aug 22 or Aug 23, but Dec 28  - which is months later. 



done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Henk van Ess.