Nieuwscheckers

Organization: Nieuwscheckers
Applicant: Alexander Pleijter
Assessor: Margot Susca
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

Edits made by the organization following this assessment

Nieuwscheckers updated information about funding, impartiality, bios and correction policy. All information is available at: http://nieuwscheckers.nl/nieuwscheckers/over-nieuwscheckers/


Conclusion and recommendations
on 14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago)

Margot Susca wrote:

This is a University-based fact checking project that started with science claims and has branched out into politics. I believe the applicant, which bases its fact checks on Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network system, can improve in a couple of areas.

It can strengthen its public explanation of non-partisanship of its student reporters/fact checkers although it does this well for lecturers.

It can strengthen its explanation of relationship to and with the University including funding and or editorial independence.

It can provide more bio information on the students working with the project aside from just bylines.

It clearly corrects the record when mistakes have been made. However, a more substantial and visible public corrections policy was not included and does not seem to be clear from the home page of the website. 

on 14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago)

Margot Susca 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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Nieuwscheckers is a project by staff and students of Leiden University’s dept. of Journalism and New Media. This affiliation is on the about-page and homepage of our websites. 

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The signatory is an established fact-checking organization or section. It has produced an average of one fact-check per week or more over the past three weeks.


done_all 1a marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

So far, Nieuwscheckers has been part of our journalism students’ coursework. Since it is mandatory only for specific courses, the site is maintained intermittently. From 2009 onwards, students have checked news media coverage, focusing on science-related items. These factchecks have been archived on http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/

Recently (i.e. February-March 2017), we branched out into political fact-checking:

http://tidm.nl/nieuwscheckers/. This is a short-term project that serves as a pilot for a more permanent fact-checking project.  

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The signatory has published an average of at least one fact-check per week over the past three months.


done_all 1b marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Fact-checks focusing on media coverage of science: over the years we have checked the accuracy of both science news and – often, but not always – the studies featured in the news. Topics range from the frivolous (‘Does the drink Stiff Bull provide men with an erection that lasts for three days?’) to the serious (‘Does obesity lower life expectancy?’). Media outlets checked range from tabloid websites to quality broadsheets. Examples:

Wijn drinken beschermt niet tegen Alzheimer http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?p=10000

Eten alle Nederlanders te zout? Dat ligt iets genuanceerder

http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?p=9912

Oud worden met obesitas?

http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?p=9583

http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?p=9995

Lelijkevrienden-effect bestaat, maar reken er niet op voor een date

Geeft Stiff Bull je seksleven vleugels? Dat blijkt tegen te vallen

http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?p=9953

Political fact-checks: in the run-up to the 15 March national elections, Nieuwscheckers assesses the accuracy of claims by leading politicians. The fact-checks published to date cover most of the major political parties. Topics include crime, migration, public health, the economy, and the job market. Examples:

http://www.nieuwscheckers.nl/het-cda-is-helemaal-niet-zo-aow-onvriendelijk-als-55plus-beweert/

http://www.nieuwscheckers.nl/de-halalisering-van-de-schoolkantine/

http://www.nieuwscheckers.nl/de-etnobarometer-schreeuwende-koppen-gebaseerd-op-een-dubieuze-peiling/

http://www./nieuwscheckers.nl/worden-inburgeringsvragen-echt-wetenschappelijk-onderzocht/

http://www.nieuwscheckers.nl/neemt-het-aantal-abortussen-vooral-onder-jonge-vrouwen-toe/

We strive to maintain coherent standards. Students receive training and they are handed a set of guidelines before they start checking. Fact-checks are vetted for accuracy and fairness by lecturers before publication.  

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The signatory fact-checks claims made by all relevant sides in its chosen topic or field, the assessment of “relevance” taking account of both (a) the significance of the claim for society if it is unchecked, and (b) the reach or potential reach of the claim. It assesses all claims using the same standards.


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago)

The lecturers involved are not supposed to actively and publicly support a political party. The about-page of our project states: 'Om onpartijdige behandeling van beweringen te waarborgen, zijn begeleiders van het Nieuwscheckers-project niet politiek actief.' (i.e., In order to warrant impartial processing of claims, supervisors of the Nieuwscheckers project are not supposed to be actively involved in politics.)

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The signatory has clear rules preventing its lecturers from active involvement in advocacy


done 2b marked as Partially compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?page_id=34

Our fact-checks contain links to all relevant sources: the people we quote, the news items we discuss, the studies we assess. In one recent case involving an extensive check for which we contacted more than a hundred Dutch schools, we provided a separate page outlining the research design.

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

In the signatory’s reports, key sources are always clearly referenced and/or linked to in a manner that readers, viewers or listeners can easily understand and replicate the fact check if they wish


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Its affiliation with Leiden University is clear but there is not clear information on how that project is funded by the University (or outside sources). 


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

See http://nieuwscheckers.nl/over-nieuwscheckers/. All fact-checks carry the bylines of the student authors.

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

Student bylines are clearly marked though biographical sketches are unavailable. 


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Margot Susca.

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

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The signatory actively invites readers to reach out. The medium for doing so is obvious.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?page_id=34 One of the means we employ to ensure fair and accurate reporting is that we routinely contact the journalists, media outlet, researcher, or politician whose claims we dispute. A more extensive set of guidelines is handed out to the students. We’ll send a copy by email to factchecknet@poynter.org. Pending the present application, our about-page (http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/ states that we subscribe to the IFCN’s code of principles.

Files Attached
description 5a - Richtlijnenfact... (20 KB)
Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The signatory’s website provides a step-by-step explanation of its methodology.


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago
Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The signatory’s website provides a dedicated section/call for action that explains to readers how to send claims and which claims can be fact-checked


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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.

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

http://www.journalistiekennieuwemedia.nl/NC/?page_id=34 The first item on this page: ‘Ook factcheckers kunnen fouten maken. Uitgangspunt is steeds open en transparant te zijn over de gehanteerde werkwijze. Fouten worden ruiterlijk erkend en waar nodig toegelicht (ook op het weblog).’ Nieuwscheckers can also be contacted on Twitter (@Nieuwscheckers) and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nieuwscheckers/).

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The evidence submitted fully complies with the requirements. 


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

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

Nieuwscheckers
05-Jun-2018 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

In February we fact-checked a politician’s claims about the rising number of abortions and the motivations of pregnant women to have an abortion. After publication a Twitter user pointed out the existence of a report we had overlooked, necessitating a correction. We added an update at the bottom of the original fact-check. See:

http://www.nieuwscheckers.nl/neemt-het-aantal-abortussen-vooral-onder-jonge-vrouwen-toe/

After publication of a fact-check on the financial benefits of being in the EU, an economist argued for a more cautious conclusion. We contacted him, decided that he had a point, and added an update that strikes a more nuanced note.

http://www.nieuwscheckers.nl/d66-onderbouwt-het-belang-van-de-eu-voor-nederland-met-boterzachte-cijfers/

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (3 months ago) Updated: 3 months ago

The evidence submitted fully complies with the requirements. 


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.