USA TODAY

Organization: USA TODAY
Applicant: Mizell Stewart III
Assessor: Michael Wagner
Assessor: Michael Wagner
Edits made by the organization after this assessment

IFCN Staff wrote:

As requested, we have added additional fact checks to the aggregation page. The changes include adding direct links to our methodology and corrections policy as requested and arranging all fact checks in chronological order. We will continue to increase our cadence of fact checks as our program grows. We have added “Fact Check” to the top navigation on our News front. 

https://www.usatoday.com/news/factcheck/

The Gannett page for SEC filings: http://ir.newmediainv.com/Docs

We have added the guidelines below to this column: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/01/13/why-usa-today-fact-checks-people-and-statements-news/4435111002/


Our application inadvertently omitted our corrections policy, which follows:


Corrections Policy

Correcting & clarifying errors

When an error occurs, our news organization has an ethical obligation to correct the error

promptly and minimize any potential harm. However, before promising or making changes, we

should acknowledge concerns and investigate the claims.

▪ When a concern about accuracy is received, a determination must first be made that an

error was made. The reporter and the appropriate editor/platform manager/producer

should confirm that a mistake was made, and the correction request should be reviewed by

a senior news official not involved in the original coverage. If the error appears

egregious and/or if an outside attorney has contacted the newspaper about the error,

then the news organization should contact its attorney or the Law Department and the

Network standards editor (contentfeedback@gannett.com).

▪ In instances when an error is reported in shared content from another Network

newsroom, the originating outlet should determine whether a mistake was made.

Information about the mistake and the proposed correction should be shared across

the Network and, if appropriate, the Network standards editor and legal counsel should

be consulted.

▪ If the facts are right but the context of information might lead users to draw the wrong

conclusion, a clarification would be more appropriate rather than a correction.

▪ Corrections or clarifications should be worded in a manner that does not repeat the

misinformation or go into detail about how the mistake occurred. At the same time, the

correction should contain enough context so that audience members understand exactly

what is being corrected. Example: A Network newsroom publishes a cover story about

fatherhood and says John Doe is a divorced father. He’s married. Instead of: A cover

story Tuesday about fatherhood said John Doe is divorced. He is married. (Repeats the

error.) Or: A cover story Tuesday about fatherhood should have said John Doe is

married. (Difficult to tell what’s being corrected. Did we say John Doe is widowed or

divorced? Did we imply he had a child out of wedlock by not giving his marital status?)

Say: A cover story Tuesday about fatherhood misstated John Doe’s marital status. He is

married. (Identifies what we got wrong and what we should have said instead.)

▪ There are rare instances when it is appropriate to explain how an error occurred.

Those would include cases in which incorrect information was provided to the news

organization, or if it is necessary to protect the reputation of a reporter who was not

responsible for the error.

▪ Corrections and clarifications should be easy to find in the paper and online. We anchor

them in the print edition and append to the top of stories online. Placement exceptions can

be made to avoid confusing the audience.

▪ For online content, we label explanations “Corrections & clarifications: Xxxxx“ when

setting the record straight, and we reserve such labeling as “Editor’s note: Xxxx” for

other explanations of news coverage.

▪ We consider how content is shared, such as video and social media, when setting the

record straight.

▪ Errors on social media should be corrected promptly. In some cases, it may be

necessary to delete a post.

▪ For video, correction/clarification language should be included in the video chatter

and a correction slate included at the end of the footage with that explanation. The

clarification needs to be in both places because sometimes the video appears without its

chatter in syndication or promotion on other sites.

▪ Any decision to delete a video or audio feed should be approved by a senior

newsroom manager.

▪ In cases where a video/audio has been modified or deleted but there is no story text,

we still owe readers an explanation for the change. Establishing a corrections log on

the website provides a newsroom window for greater transparency when addressing

stand-alone items.

▪ In the event a mistake occurs on video/audio produced by a content partner, we

should alert the partner of the error before making a final decision on whether to

correct the record. Errors of common knowledge can be addressed immediately but

we should alert the partner.

▪ For online photos, the appended correction/clarification information should follow the

corrected text and should be italicized and placed in parentheses. Example: Randy

Jackson and Ryan Seacrest are American Idol holdovers. Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and

Keith Urban are the newcomers. (An earlier version of this photo information

misidentified one of the show's new judges.)

▪ If the foundation of the story is erroneous, or if the inaccuracy resulted from an

egregious ethical violation, it may be best to correct the error with another story

admitting the error. Any such case requires consultation with the Law Department, as

does any case in which a legal vulnerability appears to exist or a lawyer’s letter of

complaint has been received. This should be handled in consultation with a senior newsroom

editor.

▪ We do not remove archived material or "unpublish" content from our digital

platforms, except in rare instances when simply correcting/clarifying information may not

be enough. Any decision to take down a story should come only after a broader

conversation with a top news leader in the newsroom. Some situations may involve

consultation with the Law Department


Conclusion and recommendations
on 04-Feb-2020 (2 months ago)

Michael Wagner wrote:

USA Today is an excellent national newspaper with a large number of local affiliates. They are currently partially compliant or noncompliant on too many items to recommend acceptance. I believe that with *extensive* edits they can be certified. First, USA Today needs to conduct more regular fact-checks, as they largely have in January of 2020 but have not done up until then. Second, USA Today should create a separate tab on their website that is solely dedicated to Fact Check. Third, USA Today should either clearly link to the Gannett pages that describe their earnings and SEC filings or create similar pages on their own site. Fourth, USA Today should develop and publish a clear fact-checking methodology describing their fact-checking process. That process should also describe for readers what is and is not checkable from USA Today's point of view. Fifth, USA Today needs to list the bios of the staff reporters doing fact checks. They should also link to the bios of reporters at local affiliates who do fact checks. Sixth, USA Today should develop a clear corrections policy, rather than only listing all of their corrections.

on 04-Feb-2020 (2 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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA TODAY produces Fact Check stories on issues ranging across the spectrum of what we cover – from politics to national news to weather and beyond. We maintain those stories in this Fact Check section on our website (and publish many items in print):

https://www.usatoday.com/news/factcheck/

We require our Fact Check efforts to adhere to our stringent ethical standards, which are published and available to the public here:

https://cm.usatoday.com/ethical-conduct/

Our Fact Check coverage reflects our commitment to accuracy and fairness -- to being transparent with our audience, seeking and reporting information in a truthful way, serving the public interest, exercising fair play, maintaining our independence, and acting with integrity.

We are in the process of expanding our Fact Check efforts by creating additional reporting and editing positions that will be devoted entirely to fact checking. We view this as playing directly to a USA TODAY franchise: explaining and clarifying the news in smart, accessible ways. Our Fact Check page will soon be updated to reflect our expanded efforts. In the meantime, our editor-in-chief has explained our growing commitment to fact-checking in the following column, which outlines how and why we fact-check people, issues and statements in the news:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/01/13/why-usa-today-fact-checks-people-and-statements-news/4435111002/


Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago)

Fact Check is a section of USA Today that conducts fact-checking for USA Today. The fact checks are not conducted by reporters who have a sole responsibility ot fact-check. Most fact checks are conducted by reporters who are on other beats. It is difficult to locate the Fact Check section of the website as well. Is is buried in the "More" tab.


done 1a marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago)

Fact Check is a section of USA Today that conducts fact-checking for USA Today. The fact checks are not conducted by reporters who have a sole responsibility ot fact-check. Most fact checks are conducted by reporters who are on other beats. It is difficult to locate the Fact Check section of the website as well. Is is buried in the "More" tab.


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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

You will find fact checks from USA TODAY on this landing page, as well as others produced by local news operations in the USA TODAY Network:

https://www.usatoday.com/news/factcheck/


Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Fact Checks have been published on USA Today's website for the past few years, but they have not averaged one per week over any time except the first month of 2020.


done 1b marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Fact Checks have been published on USA Today's website for the past few years, but they have not averaged one per week over any time except the first month of 2020.


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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago
The USA TODAY Network abides by clear and compelling journalistic standards at the flagship USA TODAY and at more than 260 newsrooms responsible for coverage of communities throughout the United States. This applies to all of our journalism, including fact checks. We rely on all of our journalists to provide fact checks when they have subject-matter expertise. For example, the Arizona Republic, a standard-bearer in this field, has long provided fact checks as part of the USA TODAY Network. Moving forward, we will provide the same level of sourcing as the Republic, which recaps all sources used at the end of each article. All fact checks, regardless of where they come from, will be reviewed by national editors before being published to the USA TODAY Fact Check site. 


For more, please see the following: 

Explanation of how the organization maintains standards: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/01/13/why-usa-today-fact-checks-people-and-statements-news/4435111002/

Our corrections policy: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/01/09/corrections-clarifications/1821023/

Representative fact checks:

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/fact-check/2019/12/08/martha-mcsally-introduced-more-bills-than-other-freshmen-senators/2586367001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/01/08/fact-check-trumps-televised-speech-iran-missile-strike/2843379001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/fact-check/2019/07/21/arizona-gov-doug-ducey-role-obamacare-repeal-effort-dnc-tom-perez/1716481001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/27/trump-kim-summit-fact-checking-trumps-claims-north-korea/2920522002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/fact-check/2019/07/07/fact-check-sen-martha-mcsally-says-90-asylum-cases-not-legitimate/1553230001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/fact-check/2018/12/05/fact-check-migrant-caravan-criminal-claim-size-and-asylum-process/2129896002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/fact-check/2018/06/26/paul-gosar-how-much-do-undocumented-immigrants-cost-economy/691997002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/fact-check/2019/09/29/kelli-ward-claims-more-shootings-happen-gun-free-zones/2291611001/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/fact-check/2018/11/03/arizona-proposition-127-claim-rising-prices-california-true/1728659002/

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/08/fact-check-donald-trump-often-stretches-truth-border-wall/2476032002/




Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today and their affiliated network, most prominently to date the Arizona Republic, conducts journalistic fact-checks about relevant political issues. To date, the site has almost exclusivley focused on checking Republican claims. On the one hand, the president is a Republican (who is also someone with a truly remarkable track record for saying things that are not true) and the Governor of Arizona is a Republican, so there is ample opportunity to fact-check Republicans as they hold the elite executive positions in the nation and in the state where the main affiliate in the USA Today network conducts fact-checks. On the other hand, there are plenty of other important, checkable statements made by Democrats in office and made by candidates who are Democrats, as well as by people who are  independents. The current imbalance does not comply with IFCN guidelines.


done 2a marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today and their affiliated network, most prominently to date the Arizona Republic, conducts journalistic fact-checks about relevant political issues. To date, the site has almost exclusivley focused on checking Republican claims. On the one hand, the president is a Republican (who is also someone with a truly remarkable track record for saying things that are not true) and the Governor of Arizona is a Republican, so there is ample opportunity to fact-check Republicans as they hold the elite executive positions in the nation and in the state where the main affiliate in the USA Today network conducts fact-checks. On the other hand, there are plenty of other important, checkable statements made by Democrats in office and made by candidates who are Democrats, as well as by people who are  independents. The current imbalance does not comply with IFCN guidelines.


done 2a marked as Partially 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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Our Principles of Ethical Conduct, signed by every journalist in our organization every year, state: We will remain free of outside interests, investments or business relationships that may compromise the credibility of our news reporting. We will maintain an impartial, arm’s-length relationship with anyone seeking to influence the news. We will not support political campaigns or causes through the display of bumper stickers, signs, pins, public/private donations, participation in demonstrations, petitions or in social media posts.

More: https://cm.usatoday.com/ethical-conduct/

In addition, staffers abide by a social media policy that also bans journalists from involvement in political parties, advocacy groups and supporting candidates: https://gannett-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/p/mistewart/Ec6RethzOAtOswxa3JtqBm4BiYII8MVFVeCm6HOnxeon6Q?e=3EjcOO

Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today has an editorial page where the paper and columnists take positions on issues that might be related to fact-checking. However, none of the reporters conducting fact-checks appear to have any connection to the opinion page. The company's reporters pledge to not support campaigns or causes in public ways. They also also banned from involvement in political parties, advocacy gropus and supporting candidates. Technically, there are partially compliant, but it appears as though the reporters fact-checking for the organization are fully compliant.


done 2b marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today has an editorial page where the paper and columnists take positions on issues that might be related to fact-checking. However, none of the reporters conducting fact-checks appear to have any connection to the opinion page. The company's reporters pledge to not support campaigns or causes in public ways. They also also banned from involvement in political parties, advocacy gropus and supporting candidates. Technically, there are partially compliant, but it appears as though the reporters fact-checking for the organization are fully compliant.


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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

When reporting a fact check, we rely on original documents and direct source material, including testimony, transcripts, interviews and public records. We provide as many links as possible in the story itself, or noted at the bottom, to the primary sources we used to put together the fact check so the public can check our work. In addition, we only use sources in a direct position to know accurate information. We name these sources and link to their biographical information when possible. Sources are approved by experienced editors.

Here is our public explanation of how the organization maintains standards and uses sources: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/01/13/why-usa-today-fact-checks-people-and-statements-news/4435111002/

Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Fact-check stories always link to sources in a wat that readers can easily understand and replicate. Sources used are directly relevant to the issue(s) that are being fact-checked in any given story. Sometimes, notably in the Arizona Republic pieces, a complete list of sources is provided at the end of the article, though this has not been done with the fact-checks were completed by reporters on staff at the national paper. There is a clear description of the paper's ethical policy (which includes a clear description of the sourcing policy) on the website as well.


done_all 3a marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Fact-check stories always link to sources in a wat that readers can easily understand and replicate. Sources used are directly relevant to the issue(s) that are being fact-checked in any given story. Sometimes, notably in the Arizona Republic pieces, a complete list of sources is provided at the end of the article, though this has not been done with the fact-checks were completed by reporters on staff at the national paper. There is a clear description of the paper's ethical policy (which includes a clear description of the sourcing policy) on the website as well.


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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

At the moment, we do not have any additional source of funding for Fact Checks on USA TODAY. However, we are applying to be part of the Facebook Fact Check program. More about our ownership and corporate structure can be found at these links:

https://www.gannett.com/who-we-are/

https://marketing.usatoday.com/about

Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today is a Gannett property. I could not find a link to the Gannett "Who We Are" provided in the application on the USA Today site; it would take extra steps for readers to learn about how Gannett makes its money. The Gannett site  provides a detailed statement of the most recent quarter's earnings and also provides links to SEC filings.


done 4a marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today is a Gannett property. I could not find a link to the Gannett "Who We Are" provided in the application on the USA Today site; it would take extra steps for readers to learn about how Gannett makes its money. The Gannett site  provides a detailed statement of the most recent quarter's earnings and also provides links to SEC filings.


done 4a marked as Partially 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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

We will use professional reporters throughout the USA TODAY Network to report fact checks. This is what our newspapers have done for more than 100 years. These reporters and their work will be overseen by local or national editors. 

The local news sites are named here: https://infogram.com/1p67meqejgzv9vc5ypqp2lj6gxslm3qnr7?live

The national editors are named here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2020/01/13/why-usa-today-fact-checks-people-and-statements-news/4435111002/

In addition, for specific projects or high-profile events, we will name and provide bios of the reporters in advance. Here is an example of how we do this: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/04/state-union-fact-checking-donald-trumps-speech-usa-today-network/2771091002/


Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today shares the local news sites with which they partner, listing the editor's name as well. But there are not biographies of the reporters who conduct fact-checks for them. There are examples, such as a fact-check of the 2019 State of the Union, where the biographies of the fact-checkers was listed before the speech, but in general, USA Today does not list their fact-checking reporters nor do they provide biographies for them. There is not a good reason to avoid this in the U.S.


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today shares the local news sites with which they partner, listing the editor's name as well. But there are not biographies of the reporters who conduct fact-checks for them. There are examples, such as a fact-check of the 2019 State of the Union, where the biographies of the fact-checkers was listed before the speech, but in general, USA Today does not list their fact-checking reporters nor do they provide biographies for them. There is not a good reason to avoid this in the U.S.


done 4b marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.

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

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

For USA TODAY newsroom staff members: https://www.usatoday.com/contact/staff/

For the USA TODAY Network: https://www.gannett.com/who-we-are/

For the USA TODAY company: https://marketing.usatoday.com/about

To submit an item to be fact checked: FactCheck@usatoday.com

Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

It is easy to figure out how audience members should contact USA Today, but there is nothing that sets the fact-checking initiative out as a specific entity to contact.


done_all 4c marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

It is easy to figure out how audience members should contact USA Today, but there is nothing that sets the fact-checking initiative out as a specific entity to contact.


done_all 4c marked as Fully 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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today treats fact-checks like it treats other aspects of their journalism. There is not a fact-checking methodology listed on the site. They explain who their editors are and what their ethical and sourcing standards are, but they do not explain how they decide what to check or what process a check undergoes.


cancel 5a marked as Non compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today treats fact-checks like it treats other aspects of their journalism. There is not a fact-checking methodology listed on the site. They explain who their editors are and what their ethical and sourcing standards are, but they do not explain how they decide what to check or what process a check undergoes.


cancel 5a marked as Non 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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

Readers can submit facts to check to: FactCheck@usatoday.com

Corrections can be requested here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/01/09/corrections-clarifications/1821023/

Phone, 1-800-872-7073

E-mail, accuracy@usatoday.com

Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today explains how they can be contacted if a reader wants to submit a claim to fact-check, though this is not easy to find on their site. They do not describe how they select fact-checks nor do they give readers an understanding of what USA Today deems checkable.


done 5b marked as Partially compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

USA Today explains how they can be contacted if a reader wants to submit a claim to fact-check, though this is not easy to find on their site. They do not describe how they select fact-checks nor do they give readers an understanding of what USA Today deems checkable.


done 5b marked as Partially 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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

The following link contains our corrections policy as well as links to recent corrections and the stories corrected. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/01/09/corrections-clarifications/1821023/

Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

I could not identify a corrections policy. USA Today's corrections page is extensive and appears comprehensive - listing corrections made by month and listing the section of the paper in which the corrections are made. What their policy is, though, is not something that they tell us.


cancel 6a marked as Non compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

I could not identify a corrections policy. USA Today's corrections page is extensive and appears comprehensive - listing corrections made by month and listing the section of the paper in which the corrections are made. What their policy is, though, is not something that they tell us.


cancel 6a marked as Non 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.

USA TODAY
09-Jan-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

The following link contains our corrections policy as well as links to recent corrections and the stories corrected. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2013/01/09/corrections-clarifications/1821023/

Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

There is a public corrections page listing corrections made, the section of the paper they were made in, and when they were made. I did not notice a Fact Check section correction.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.
Michael Wagner Assessor
03-Feb-2020 (2 months ago) Updated: 2 months ago

There is a public corrections page listing corrections made, the section of the paper they were made in, and when they were made. I did not notice a Fact Check section correction.


done_all 6b marked as Fully compliant by Michael Wagner.

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.