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As PolitiFact enters another contentious election year, we want to explain to you, our readers, how we’re maintaining transparency about our fact-checking.
Independence and transparency are the heart of journalism and are especially important in fact-checking journalism. Our readers should understand how our journalists decide what statements to fact-check and we consult sources and analyze data to reach conclusions.
We care deeply about our relationship with our readers. We want our work to help you be an informed participant in democracy. And we want you to understand how and why we do accountability-driven fact-checking.
Over the summer of 2023, PolitiFact’s audience engagement team tested different methods of sharing our principles, mission and process on social media. We responded to comments, filmed videos, made it easier to find our process page and more.
We’re taking what we learned and implementing it in 2024. Here’s how.
"Why isn’t this Pants on Fire?"
"Who funds you?"
Across emails, direct messages and social media comments, PolitiFact receives these questions frequently, and they’re good ones. This year we commit to enthusiastically answering your questions
For example, we’re often asked, "Who funds PolitiFact?" We’ve answered this in different ways, sometimes directly responding to social media comments, other times creating short video answers.
When PolitiFact visited New Hampshire this year to fact-check the primary election, we asked our Instagram followers what they would like to know about us. One user asked, "How do you know you’re finding the most reliable sources?" Senior Correspondent Louis Jacobson answered them in a video.
Our 2024 goal is to answer at least one reader question in our comments each week, and to film at least one video each month that discusses our process and mission.
We have a long-standing practice of publishing reader feedback about our work. If you disagree with our rating on a fact-check, think we didn’t consider a certain angle or just want to say you think we got it right, you can send us an email at [email protected]. (We won’t publish abusive or hateful comments.)
We also invite readers to share their thoughts on the topics we fact-check. As we worked on the ground in New Hampshire, we asked our newsletter subscribers and social media followers what issues mattered most to them in 2024. You can read their responses here.
As we go forward in 2024, we will ask our audience members what they want us to explore. If you want to follow along, subscribe to one of our newsletters.
To explain our work, we at PolitiFact lay out our fact-checking mission and process in both writing and videos. We disclose who gives our nonprofit newsroom money. We list our sources for each fact-check.
But we also recognize that if you find our work on social media or through an internet search, you might not know all of these resources exist.
All PolitiFact fact-checks include an "If Your Time Is Short" section, which lists the main points of a fact-check a reader needs to know to understand our rating. We will now include a bullet point on all checks that take you to our principles page. This detailed page explains how we pick statements to check, choose Truth-O-Meter ratings, correct our mistakes and more.
We will also link to our principles page regularly on social media so our followers can easily access this information. Our goal is to help readers understand how and why we’ve reached our ratings, plus answer anything else they might wonder about our editorial process.
PolitiFact also understands we can’t do this work alone. If you have suggestions for how we can be more transparent and earn your trust in 2024, please tell us at [email protected]. (It’s checked by real humans.)
See links in story.