We are extremely careful about picking up sources for our stories because the credibility of one’s argument depends on the credibility of its sources. The first step is to evaluate if the source is directly related to the story that we are investigating.
We prefer to track down the sources who are eyewitnesses or author of the original audio/video clip. We also look for people who are in a position to have access to credible information. As and when needed, we tap the huge pool of our reporters on ground for cross-verification. Not relying solely of single source, we always corroborate the statements with evidences.
Primary sources: Reaching out to the concerned person is critical to fact-checking. To verify the authenticity of a statement, we directly approach concerned persons for their reaction. We also scan their verified social media accounts for public statement.
Official sources: Local authorities and police remain conventional yet an important source of information. We often share the information or claim that we are investigating with the authorities to get the official reaction on it and debunk misinformation. The documents presented and discussions recorded on the official websites of Parliament and state assemblies are a huge source of validated information that we frequently use.
Scholarly journals & newspapers: We rely on non-partisan, government agencies for expertise, analyses and reports. We also use academic books and reputed websites for authoritative information on a subject. Apart from reputed newspapers and magazines, we often refer to websites of well-known organisations and company publications to verify an information.
Transparency about sources: We clearly specify our sources in a story. We describe in reasonable detail about the process and evidences on the basis of which we arrive at a conclusion. We provide hyperlinks in most of the stories so that readers could replicate the fact check. Hyperlinks direct readers directly to the source of information and evidences which we used to reach a conclusion.
Additional layer of verification: India Today has a huge pools of reporters and stringers active on the ground. When required, we utilise this network spread across the country and abroad to cross-verify facts. Occasionally, we come across stories where the concerned persons don’t have social media presence. In that case, our on-ground reporters act as an additional layer of cross-verification.