How We Identify Fact-Checkers

The Duke Reporters' Lab looks at many attributes to determine which organizations to add to its database of fact-checking projects around the world.

By Bill Adair & Mark Stencel – June 22, 2016 | Print this article

The database of global fact-checking sites is a project of the Reporters’ Lab at Duke University. The database is managed by Mark Stencel, a visiting professor of journalism at Duke who also serves as co-director of the Lab, and Bill Adair, the founder of PolitiFact who serves as the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy and the director of Duke’s journalism program.

The fact-checking database tracks more than 100 non-partisan organizations around the world that regularly publish articles or broadcast segments that assess the accuracy of statements made by public officials, political parties, candidates, journalists, news organizations, associations and other groups.

The Lab considers many attributes in determining which organizations to include, such as whether the site:

  • examines all parties and sides;
  • examines discrete claims and reaches conclusions;
  • tracks political promises;
  • is transparent about sources and methods;
  • discloses funding/affiliations;
  • and whether its primary mission is news and information.

Many fact-checkers in the database are affiliated with news organizations. Others are typically associated with non-governmental groups that conduct non-partisan journalism and focus on issues such as civic engagement, government transparency and public accountability.

The database is regularly updated and includes both active and inactive projects. We also try to update the status of organizations that do periodic fact-checking during key news events, such as an election or a legislative session. (The profiles of each project indicate whether it is inactive or inactive.)

If you have additions, edits or questions, please contact Mark Stencel by email.