Reuters

Organization: Reuters
Applicant: Hazel Baker
Assessor: Michael Wagner
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

We have re-surfaced more fact-checks and now have more than 13 fact-checks in the last three months.

The biography for the head of fact-checking unit ought to be expanded, so we will create a page on Reuters.com to host this and link to it from the ‘about us’ fact-checking page.

We are discussing with our digital editor to determine the exact placing of our fact-checking archive link, and will make it readily discoverable.

We will add to the text in this box on the blog page to clearly state that people are welcome to suggest fact checks or make complaints, also by following the link provided.

We will expand this part in the methodology to read:

“Balance of fact vs opinion: is it possible to isolate certain claims from the material?

Examples of claims we may able to examine will include captioning of images and videos, direct or paraphrased quotations, statistics and accounts of observable events.”


Conclusion and recommendations
on 04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago)

Michael Wagner wrote:

Reuters News is a high quality news organization that is seeking to grow their fact checking section. They have produced fact-checks, but have not yet produced them on a regular basis for a sustained period of time. In order to be approved, I recommend that Reuters News begin conducting more regular fact-checks and list their fact-checking reporters on their website and include biographies of their fact-checking reporters. Second, Reuters News should set up a dedicated link on the main menu tabs on their website that sends readers to the fact-checking materials. There, they should make it easy for the audience to figure out how to contact Reuters News to suggest fact-checks and make complaints or requests for corrections. In their description of their methodology, Reuters News should describe the qualities that make a claim checkable. It is the case that Reuters’ political and community activity policy will not be compliant with IFCN standards, but it should be noted that their policy is realistic and reasonable.

on 04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago)

Michael Wagner 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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago)

Reuters News is a division of Thomson Reuters, a corporation listed on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges. Reuters News has created a fact-checking unit within its editorial department. The principle aim of this unit is to fact check visual material and claims posted on social media. The fact checking producers in this unit report their findings on a specially-created blog.

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Reuters News is a news organization that has done some fact-checks. There is not a separate, distinct tab on their site that is used solely for the purpose of  providing fact-checks to their audience. Reuters News' application notes they have a fact-checking unit in their editorial department to check visual material and claims made on social media. It is not clear how readers would find the "specially-created blog" where these fact-checks live.


done 1a marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago)

Until now, fact checking has been carried out by the user-generated content (UGC) newsgathering team within Reuters. This team has focused on the active verification of authentic content, although has occasionally worked to fully investigate inauthentic content. The output of the UGC team has been available to Reuters clients and kept in records on our internal systems. We have now published this work publicly to make our methodology clear to all.

Our archive of fact checks can be found here:

https://www.reuters.com/fact-check

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago)

The fact-checks Reuters News has published evaluate distinct claims on the basis of their accuracy. They have not averaged one report per week over the previous three months.


done 1b marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Feb 27 2019: Video does not show downed Indian pilot
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183134088

May 15, 2019: Sudanese forces fire at protesters
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183134173

July 21, 2019: Trump makes surprise appearance at wedding
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183134405

August 25, 2019: Hong Kong police fire warning shot amid protest
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183180556

September 28, 2019: Dashcam records moment of oil tanker blast
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183181130

October 1, 2019: Hong Kong protester hit by live bullet round
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183181307

October 18, 2019: Video does not show military helicopter over Culiacan, Mexico
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183182303

November 29, 2019: Eyewitness records moments after London bridge attack
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183245670

December 16, 2019: Video does not show Indian police firing on citizenship protesters
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183255300

January 8, 2020: Video shows missiles aimed at al-Asad air base, Iraq
https://embed.scribblelive.com/embed/post.aspx?id=1183255553

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Reuters News fact-checks a variety of claims. To date, most are not distinctly political in the ideological sense of the word. That is, they are checking the veracity of claims about shots fired, the whereabouts of an attacker, whether video purporting to depict a newsworthy diasaster is real and the like. There is not an undue concentration favoring a "political side."


done_all 2a marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The Reuters Handbook of Journalism states the following:

(reference: http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=Freedom_from_bias#Political_and_Community_Activity)

Political and Community Activity

Reuters does not give support – directly or indirectly – to any political party or group nor does it take sides in national or international conflicts or disputes in accordance with our Code of Conduct. In keeping with this policy you must not identify the Reuters name with any political party or group or any one side in such conflicts or disputes.

Displays of political affiliation or support for partisan causes have no place in our newsrooms. No member of editorial, whether a journalist or support worker, may wear campaign buttons, badges or items of clothing bearing political slogans on the job, nor bring posters, pamphlets and other political material to the workplace to distribute or display.

Outside work, Reuters respects the right (and in some countries the obligation) of staff to vote in elections and referendums and does not seek to interfere with that right. The company also recognises that staff enjoy certain fundamental freedoms as a result of their nationality or where they live. Reuters, however, expects journalistic staff in all branches of editorial to be keenly sensitive to the risk that their activities outside work may open their impartiality to questioning or create a perception of bias.

Such perceptions can undermine the integrity not only of the individual but of all journalists at Reuters and damage the company’s reputation. In some societies, individuals who sign petitions or join demonstrations may be monitored by the authorities and evidence could be used to damage their reputation or restrict our newsgathering operations. In other countries, individuals who contribute to political campaign funds have their names on the public record. Again, such evidence may be used by those who would seek to undermine the good name of Reuters, its staff or our profession. A policy designed to protect our standing as a news service free from bias cannot be policed. It relies on trust and an expectation that staff will refrain from activities that might, whatever the intention, raise perceptions of a conflict and that they will consult their manager in any case of doubt. Where such perceptions of a conflict do arise, Reuters may in some cases ultimately require the journalist to move to other duties. Individuals should use their common sense, The Trust Principles and the values of unbiased journalism in deciding whether to donate to certain charitable causes or be active in the affairs of their community. A conflict is unlikely to arise but staff in any doubt should consult their manager. The same principles apply to any doubts about a possible perception of conflict that may arise from the activities of a close family member.

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Reuters does not support candidates or officialy support a side inn national or international conflcits. The organization doe not prohibit direct involvement in political parties or advocacy organizations of their reporters outside the workplace, though they do not allow it in the workplace. They strongly suggest that such behavior outside the workplace reflects badly on the organization, but they recognize that many of their staff will live in countries where they have the right to participate in politics as they please.


done 2b marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The Reuters Handbook of Journalism includes the following detailed guidelines around sourcing. As part of the Reuters editorial department, the fact checking team will follow these guidelines:

http://handbook.reuters.com/index.php?title=Accuracy#Sourcing

One specific concern regarding fact checking of social media content is the potential danger of linking back to the accounts of individuals. We take great not to put our sources in danger, or leave them open to online abuse. While our preferred method is to link back to original sources and take screenshots of social media postings with the author's name visible, we will not do so if we feel that this may put these sources at risk. In cases where we feel it is inadvisable to link to an individual's account, we will take a screenshot and redact the user's name and identifying details, where applicable. 

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

In general, Reuters News links to or provides screen shots of the sources of the claim they are fact-checking. They provide sufficient detail, generally, though reserve the right in their sourcing policy to not put sources at risk by linking to social media postings with the author's name visible if they think they author would be put at risk.  Links are provided to sources used to judge the veracity of claims.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

All information contained here: https://www.reuters.com/fact-check/about


Reuters News is part of Thomson Reuters Corp - a provider of news and information-based tools to professionals. Further details about Thomson Reuters, including Annual Reports, are available here:

https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en/about-us.html

The fact-checking unit at Reuters has joined Facebook’s third-party fact-checking program. Through this program, Facebook will provide funding to the Reuters fact-checking unit, in exchange for assessments of the authenticity of content on its platform.

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

It takes a little bit of detective work on the Reuters site, but there is a great deal of financial information that they make available to their readers. Readers can link to annual reports, quarterly earnings statements, investor relations booklets and more.


done_all 4a marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

All information contained here: https://www.reuters.com/fact-check/about

Reuters is in the process of expanding its new fact-checking unit. The unit will be overseen by Hazel Baker, Global Head of UGC Newsgathering at Reuters. Hazel has been leading visuals verification at Reuters since joining the news agency in 2017. Prior to that she was digital newsgathering editor for Sky News, UK.

Further information about the wider editorial leadership at Reuters is available here:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-reuters-editorial-leadership/reuters-editorial-leadership-idUSKBN1KE2SD


Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The site does not list biographies of the reporters conducting the fact-checks.The fact-checks themselves are unbylined.


cancel 4b marked as Non compliant by Michael Wagner.

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

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

All information contained here: https://www.reuters.com/fact-check/about

You may contact the fact-checking unite at Reuters if you have suggestions of content to fact-check, you have any disputes over our fact-checking work or you wish to give general feedback.

The email for types of contact is: reuterseyewitness@thomsonreuters.com

Suggestions: please send a link to the relevant social media post(s). Please note Reuters chooses which content to fact check based on editorial merit, level of virality and the balance of fact and opinion within the content. We may not be able to reply to every email with suggestions, but we value your input.

Disputes: if you have read one of our fact-checks and you think it is inaccurate, please get in touch as soon as possible, writing in the subject line “dispute”. You should summarize why you think our fact check is inaccurate, and include links to supporting evidence if possible. We will reply emails regarding disputes within 24 hours.

Feedback: you are welcome to contact us using the email above if you have any other questions or comments regarding our work.

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Since it is not yet easy to find where the fact-checks are on the website, it is not yet easy to find where a reader should submit a fact-check request or a complaint. They do have an email address and offer some advice for those seeking to check social media posts.


done 4c marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

All information contained here: https://www.reuters.com/fact-check/about

The principles of with integrity, independence, and freedom from bias guide all journalism at Reuters. We approach social media fact-checking work in the same manner.

Our choice of material to fact check is broad, and is selected based on the following criteria:

Editorial value: is there is a story to be told?

Reach: how far has the claim travelled?

Potential reach: is the information likely to be shared further?

Balance of fact vs opinion: is it possible to isolate certain claims from the material?

After we have identified the content we aim to fact-check, we will first identify and summarize the key claims relating to the material.

We will then seek to uncover the foundations of those claims and make an assessment as to whether those claims are true, false, partially true/false, or other – such as opinion and satire. Our approach will consider both the SOURCE and the CONTENT:

SOURCE: We aim to identify the primary source of the claim or content as posted on social media, speak to them directly wherever possible and obtain supporting evidence regarding the claim.

CONTENT: We will seek out information that corroborates the claims made in the content. If no corroborating material is available, we will look for details within the content and attempt to contact witnesses or other associated parties who may provide information. We will also consult regional and subject experts to gather their assessment of the content, in order to build up a case of evidence.

A detailed examination of our social media verification approach is available in the final chapter of this Reuters e-learning course on the topic of manipulated media: https://www.reuters.com/manipulatedmedia



Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The site lists their methodology publicly and explains their general methodology. However, Reuters News notes that, "We will then seek to uncover the foundations of those claims and make an assessment as to whether those claims are true, false, partially true/false, or other – such as opinion and satire" - but they sometimes use conclusions like "Authentic," or "Misleading headline."


done_all 5a marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

All information contained here: https://www.reuters.com/fact-check/about

You may contact the fact-checking unite at Reuters if you have suggestions of content to fact-check, you have any disputes over our fact-checking work or you wish to give general feedback.

The email for types of contact is: reuterseyewitness@thomsonreuters.com

Suggestions: please send a link to the relevant social media post(s). Please note Reuters chooses which content to fact check based on editorial merit, level of virality and the balance of fact and opinion within the content. We may not be able to reply to every email with suggestions, but we value your input.

Disputes: if you have read one of our fact-checks and you think it is inaccurate, please get in touch as soon as possible, writing in the subject line “dispute”. You should summarize why you think our fact check is inaccurate, and include links to supporting evidence if possible. We will reply emails regarding disputes within 24 hours.

Feedback: you are welcome to contact us using the email above if you have any other questions or comments regarding our work.

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

The Reuters News site provides an email address for people to contact them about sending in claims to check. They do not provide a description of what kinds of claims are checkable according to Reuters but they provide a fairly clear methodology for the process to use to fact-check claims.


done_all 5b marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

All information contained here: https://www.reuters.com/fact-check/about

The Reuters fact-checking unit strives to provide accurate, unbiased reporting at all times. In the rare event that we make an error, or new information comes to light that changes our understanding of the subject, we will make a timely correction to the relevant blog post.

Fact checks that have been updated to reflect new information will carry a headline that begins “CORRECTED: ….”. A line below the headline, written between parentheses, will explain which part of the report has been altered and why.

If a significant change is made to the blog post, which somehow changes the conclusion of the article, it will be corrected and reposted at the top of our fact checking blog. If a minor alteration is made, the corrected blog post will remain in its chronological position.

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Reuters News has a corrections policy and offers a clear path for the audience to ask for a correction.


done_all 6a marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.

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

Reuters
11-Jan-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

On January 8, 2020, Reuters flashed an incoming package from Iranian TV news coverage that was said to show the missile strikes overnight on targets in Iraq. The package appeared to contain video from numerous sources, which concerned the UGC team. Using reverse image search, Reuters determined that one of the clips in the package was in fact from the conflict in Syria in 2018. Reuters immediately halted the planned edit of the material, updated the content management system as seen by clients and flashed the following advisory:

ADVISORY FLASH-3139-IRAQ-SECURITY/IRAN-MISSILES

**EDITORS PLEASE NOTE - DO NOT MAKE ANY FURTHER USE OF THIS FOOTAGE . REUTERS HAS DETERMINED THAT PART OF THIS FOOTAGE DOES NOT SHOW 08/01/2020 MISSILE STRIKES. WE HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT THE DATE OF THE SEQUENCES IN THE VIDEO**

Reuters then spoke to various clients who called to ask for further details, providing them with information regarding the misleading clip. No further use was made of the other elements within the package, given that the dates and locations of the other clips could not be independently verified.

On January 5, 2020, Reuters published a script alongside a UGC edit showing efforts to save a pod of pilot whales following a stranding in New Zealand. In this script, Reuters erroneously reported that 7 whales had died, while 4 were alive. The actual numbers at the time, according to the Department of Conservation NZ , were 4 dead whales and 7 alive. The edit was updated, with a note at the top of the script reading:

EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: RESENDING WITH CORRECTED FIGURES ON LIVING AND DEAD WHALES: SEVEN LIVING, FOUR DEAD

A wider list of Reuters corrections can be viewed here:

https://www.reuters.com/news/archive/corrections

Michael Wagner Assessor
04-Feb-2020 (5 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Reuters has an archive of corrections. It does not appear as though the Fact Checks have needed a correction yet.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.