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 (1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

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

Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago
Margot Susca Assessor
14-Aug-2018 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year 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 (1 year ago) Updated: 1 year ago

The evidence submitted fully complies with the requirements. 


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 7: Eligibility to be a signatory

Criterion 1.1
The applicant is a legally registered organization, or a distinct team or unit within a legally registered organization, and details of this are easily found on its website.

Criterion 1.2
The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.

Criterion 1.3
The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the three months prior to the date of application.

Criterion 1.4
On average, at least 75% of the applicant’s fact checks focus on claims related to issues that, in the view of the IFCN, relate to or could have an impact on the welfare or well-being of individuals, the general public or society.

Criterion 1.5
The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.

Criterion 1.6
If the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, it provides a statement on its site setting out to the satisfaction of the IFCN, how it ensures its funders do not influence the findings of its reports.

Section 8: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

Criterion 2.1
The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.

Criterion 2.2
The applicant does not unduly concentrate its fact-checking on any one side, considers the reach and importance of claims it selects to check and publishes a short statement on its website to set out how it selects claims to check.

Criterion 2.3
The applicant discloses in its fact checks relevant interests of the sources it quotes where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided. It also discloses in its fact checks any commercial or other such relationships it has that a member of the public might reasonably conclude could influence the findings of the fact check.

Criterion 2.4
The applicant is not as an organization affiliated with nor declares or shows support for any party, any politician or political candidate, nor does it advocate for or against any policy positions on any issues save for transparency and accuracy in public debate.

Criterion 2.5
The applicant sets out its policy on non-partisanship for staff on its site. Save for the issues of accuracy and transparency, the applicant’s staff do not get involved in advocacy or publicise their views on policy issues the organization might fact check in such a way as might lead a reasonable member of the public to see the organization’s work as biased.

Section 9: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

Criterion 3.1
The applicant identifies the source of all significant evidence used in their fact checks, providing relevant links where the source is available online, in such a way that users can replicate their work if they wish. In cases where identifying the source would compromise the source’s personal security, the applicant provides as much detail as compatible with the source’s safety.

Criterion 3.2
The applicant uses the best available primary, not secondary, sources of evidence wherever suitable primary sources are available. Where suitable primary sources are not available, the applicant explains the use of a secondary source.

Criterion 3.3
The applicant checks all key elements of claims against more than one named source of evidence save where the one source is the only source relevant on the topic.

Criterion 3.4
The applicant identifies in its fact checks the relevant interests of the sources it uses where the reader might reasonably conclude those interests could influence the accuracy of the evidence provided.

Section 10: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

Criterion 4.1
Applicants that are independent organizations have a page on their website detailing each source of funding accounting for 5% or more of total revenue for its previous financial year. This page also sets out the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).

Criterion 4.2
Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.

Criterion 4.3
A statement on the applicant’s website sets out the applicant’s organizational structure and makes clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

Criterion 4.4
A page on the applicant’s website details the professional biography of all those who, according to the organizational structure and play a significant part in its editorial output.

Criterion 4.5
The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Section 11: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

Criterion 5.1
The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.

Criterion 5.2
The applicant selects claims to check based primarily on the reach and importance of the claims, and where possible explains the reason for choosing the claim to check.

Criterion 5.3
The applicant sets out in its fact checks relevant evidence that appears to support the claim as well as relevant evidence that appears to undermine it.

Criterion 5.4
The applicant in its fact checks assesses the merits of the evidence found using the same high standards applied to evidence on equivalent claims, regardless of who made the claim.

Criterion 5.5
The applicant seeks where possible to contact those who made the claim to seek supporting evidence, noting that (i) this is often not possible with online claims, (ii) if the person who makes the claim fails to reply in a timely way this should not impede the fact check, (iii) if a speaker adds caveats to the claim, the fact-checker should be free to continue with checking the original claim, (iv) fact-checkers may not wish to contact the person who made the claim for safety or other legitimate reasons.

Criterion 5.6
The applicant encourages users to send in claims to check, while making it clear what readers can legitimately expect will be fact-checked and what isn’t fact-checkable.

Section 12: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

Criterion 6.1
The applicant has a corrections or complaints policy that is easily visible and accessible on the organization’s website or frequently referenced in broadcasts.

Criterion 6.2
The policy sets out clear definitions of what it does and does not cover, how major mistakes, especially those requiring revised conclusions of a fact check, are handled, and the fact that some complaints may justify no response. This policy is adhered to scrupulously.

Criterion 6.3
Where credible evidence is provided that the applicant has made a mistake worthy of correction, the applicant makes a correction openly and transparently, seeking as far as possible to ensure that users of the original see the correction and the corrected version.

Criterion 6.4
The applicant, if an existing signatory, should either on its corrections/complaints page or on the page where it declares itself an IFCN signatory inform users that if they believe the signatory is violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN, with a link to the IFCN site.

Criterion 6.5
If the applicant is the fact-checking unit of a media company, it is a requirement of signatory status that the parent media company has and adheres to an open and honest corrections policy.