Credible fact-checking is built on reliable sources. To evaluate a source’s reliability, ask these questions about the organization behind the sources, data or reports:
- Who founded the organization?
- What is that person’s background?
- Who funds the organization?
- Do the funders have a political or ideological mission?
- If there is a board of directors, who is on it?
- What organizations or industries do they represent?
- Do the directors seem to have similar backgrounds?
- Is the organization nonprofit and nonpartisan?
- In the U.S., is the organization listed as a 501(c)(3) or some other designation? You can find the definitions of those terms on the ProPublica website.
- Check the language on the “About Us” page. (It’s a red flag if there is no “About Us” page.)
- Is it partisan? Does it favor a particular “side” of an issue? The Annenberg Institute’s “Critical Thinking Resources” lists the political leanings of various organizations and offers comments on each organization’s value as a resource.
Taken from Fact-checking: How to Improve Your Skills in Accountability Journalism, a self-directed course by Alexios Mantzarlis and Jane Elizabeth at Poynter NewsU.
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