Organization: Verafiles Incorporated
Applicant: Ellen T. Tordesillas
Assessor: Jeremaiah M. Opiniano
Edits made by the organization after this assessment
IFCN Staff wrote:
Vera Files provided additional information about its funding on its About Us page (http://verafiles.org/articles/what-you-want-know-about-vera-files-fact-check)
Conclusion and recommendations
Jeremaiah M. Opiniano wrote:
The assessor concludes that VERA Files is a legitimate fact-checking organization. VERA Files is transparent in its reporting methods, reach-out to news audiences through corrections, and acknowledging human editorial error. Story angles range from obvious (e.g., public statements given) to analytical (news angles not necessarily coming from statements, but are underreported and need explanations).
I can also say that VERA Files is witty in using LinkedIn accounts to look at the bios of the people involved in the fact-checking team. For one, LinkedIn is a tamed social media platform. For another, VERA Files people are professionals —and LinkedIn is the platform for news audiences to view these professionals. Given also previous episodes of trolling that impact any Filipino journalists today, VERA Files’ remedy is a touch of reason and professionalism.
- The infographic on the methodology is spelled out clearly. But to reinforce it, it is hoped that each story has a footnote explaining the reporting methods done. Readers infer indirectly the reporting methods done given the links to the sources of the facts checked.
- If time permits, some stories using fact-checking can do some old-school news gathering tools
- It is really cultural for any nonprofit organization in the Philippines to optionally release its financial report and the amounts of donations and grants acquired. The same goes with media nonprofits / media development organizations. The only catch is that readers will ask for the background of the fact-checking organization.
Suggested options include:
- a) Diligent posting of the annual financial report of the news organization in the news website;
- b) Having a page that shows the earnings and expenses (be it in Excel file, presented as an infographic); or
- c) Revealing the projects and the amounts each project is.