MediaWise

Organization: MediaWise
Applicant: Alexa Volland
Assessor: Margot Susca

Background

This is a re-assessment of MediaWise, which is also part of Poynter. I first assessed MediaWise in early 2020, and this assessment is based on a July 2021 review of its website and links on it; its TikTok page; its Twitter feed; its Instagram wall; and its YouTube posts.  Its multiplatform approach is THE way to target younger audiences.

Assessment Conclusion

I find MediaWise fully compliant in all areas. 

on 30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago)

Margot Susca assesses application as Compliant

A short summary in native publishing language

There's a lot to like about MediaWise and its work. Its "ambassadors" program which includes prominent figures in media among them Tyler Oakley and Cydnee Black, who has 322K Instagram followers, appears to engage younger users with thought leaders on the subjects of media literacy and fact checking. I think it’s really important to note here that as it fact checks, the MediaWise team then gives important media literacy tips about looking at sources, as examples examining ABOUT pages on websites, and using hyperlinks in news stories to find and use primary sources, which they call 'reading upstream.' Really great work that could (and should!) be modeled by other sites.

Section 1: Eligibility to be a signatory

To be eligible to be a signatory, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 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.
  • 1.2 The team, unit or organization is set up exclusively for the purpose of fact-checking.
  • 1.3 The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application. For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track. Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.
  • 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.
  • 1.5 The applicant’s editorial output is not, in the view of the IFCN, controlled by the state, a political party or politician.
  • 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.

Criteria 1.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain where on your website you set out information about your organization’s legal status and how this complies with criteria. Attach a link to the relevant page of your website.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

MediaWise is a nonprofit, nonpartisan project of The Poynter Institute. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3. The EIN for the organization is 59-1630423. You can view The Poynter Institute’s most-recent public financial disclosure form 990 can be found at the bottom of the main MediaWise program page:

https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/

This information can also be found under "Our ownership & Disclosure of project funders" in our Editorial Standards. https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. 


done_all 1.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please answer the following questions – (see notes in Guidelines for Application on how to answer)

 1. When and why was your fact-checking operation started?
 2. How many people work or volunteer in the organization and what are their roles?
 3. What different activities does your organization carry out?
 4. What are the goals of your fact-checking operation over the coming year?

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

1. MediaWise was originally created in 2018 with the intention of teaching 1 million teenagers how to sort fact from fiction online by the year 2020. To help achieve this original goal, MediaWise created the MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network (TFCN), creating fact-checks 'for teens, by teens,' among other educational and training programs. The exclusive purpose of TFCN is to create fact-checking content. TFCN is run by MediaWise/Poynter staff and includes teenagers spread across the U.S. that produce video fact-checks debunking viral claims they come across on their own social media feeds. TFCN fact-checks are unique in that they debunk misinformation while simultaneously teaching media literacy skills so the audience can then fact-check on their own. To reach our original target audience of teenagers, fact-checks were produced for social media, and have taken the shape of Instagram stories, Twitter threads, TikToks, Snapchat stories and YouTube videos.

2. Currently, the MediaWise team is made up of four full-time employees: Katy Byron, Editor and Program Manager; Alex Mahadevan, Senior Multimedia Reporter; Heaven Taylor-Wynn, Multimedia Reporter; and Alexa Volland, Multimedia Reporter. TFCN is managed and led by Volland and other team members contribute to fact-checking content creation, editing and production.

https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/

Members of the Teen Fact-Checking Network work with the MediaWise team for 12-15 weeks at a time and are paid per fact-check. Currently, 12 students are working on the project, however, the number of students varies. Teen fact-checkers are expected to pitch potential stories, fact-check and write social media scripts (which are heavily edited by a MediaWise staffer) and record the fact-check for social media use. More than 100 students nationwide have participated in the TFCN program over the past 3 years.

https://www.poynter.org/teen-fact-checking-network/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XhjbGpqwmw

3. Being both a digital media literacy initiative and a fact-checking organization, MediaWise carries out a wide variety of activities. They include: Producing social media video and text format fact-checks from the MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network; producing influencer-created content and partnered videos on YouTube and other platforms; teaching fact-checking and media literacy tips regularly through social media posts; monitoring and responding to misinformation trends across platforms; conducting in-person and virtual presentations and trainings across the U.S. for audiences of all ages; managing a network of MediaWise Campus Correspondents that teach digital literacy at college campuses all over the U.S.; create online educational courses and materials available on Poynter.org.

4. Over the course of the next year, MediaWise will be focused on fact-checking and teaching crucial digital media literacy skills to Americans of all ages, and scaling the impact of its work. In 2021, we are focused on vaccine misinformation, claims about the coronavirus as well as U.S. politics and a variety of social issues.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I especially like the multiplatform and multigenerational approach to MediaWise's work that encompasses both media literacy and fact checking. 

Its approach is clear and comes through in its editorial standards, where it explains its approach and its goals to "reach the largest audiences possible." Its site also explains, "We believe that when facts prevail, democracy wins." This level of transparency and mission clarity should be an IFCN standard. 


done_all 1.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.3
Proof you meet criteria
- The applicant has published an average of at least one fact check a week over the course of the six months prior to the date of application.
- For applicants from countries with at least 5 or more verified signatories need to have at least a fact check a week over the twelve months of publishing track.
- Consult to factchecknet@poynter.org for confirmation.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

Because MediaWise takes an audience-first approach to fact-checking, our fact-checks live on social media, and have taken the shape of Instagram stories, Twitter threads,TikToks and YouTube videos. Text versions of some of these fact-checks can be found on Poynter's website.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2DPyDJLFycNPgPcH0jaeHw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mediawise/?hl=en

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@mediawise?lang=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mediawise

Poynter: https://www.poynter.org/teen-fact-checking-network/

For your convenience, here is a full archive of our fact-checks from the past year. Please note, this document has three separate sheets at the bottom, which organize our content by social media platform: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/15Kvmql1WMEohmu9tGo39nNguB887EwQjRt6U3Ltd-AE/edit#gid=1771904052

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I have included here, as an example, a screen shot of its TikTok feed to show its publishing track record just on this one social media platform. These fact checks over the last weeks are emblematic of how MediaWise judges items as LEGIT, NOT LEGIT or NEEDS CONTEXT. On YouTube, it's also very clear what is THE CLAIM that is being fact checked and what methodology has been used for its IS THIS LEGIT?

Full "rating" scale of its fact checks here: 

'Ratings:

For every fact-check story, a rating is included that tells our audience what we concluded after fact-checking a claim. MediaWise fact-checks typically fall into these ratings categories:

Legit. The claim, photo or video is real and the information is accurate.

Mostly legit. The claim, photo or video is mostly true, but some small details are incorrect.

Needs context. The claim, photo or video does not have all of the information needed to be fully understood and assessed.

Mixed bag. The claim, photo or video is roughly half true/ half false.

Mostly not legit. The claim, photo or video is mostly false, but some small details are rooted in truth.

Not legit. The claim, photo or video is inaccurate or being taken out of context.

Satire: The claim, photo or video used humor, irony, exaggeration, and false information to comment on current events and pop culture. It may be fake but it’s meant to be a joke.' 


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done_all 1.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous three months. No additional information required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

In this section I'll list the date (all year 2021)/platform/subject of a random sample of fact checks I reviewed between July 2021 and April 2021. Some of these were accessed through a Google Doc supplied by the applicant, and others were accessed directly through MediaWise's social media platforms.

July 23 & July 27 YouTube/Twitter/TikTok Delta variant

July 23 Twitter/TikTok Olympics anti-sex beds

July 21 Twitter-->YouTube No, Georgia did not ban discussion of race in the classroom

June 30 Instagram VA Mask law: This claim about a Virginia law definitely NEEDS CONTEXT.

June 24 YouTube Yes, West Virginia is giving out guns as part of a vaccine incentive lottery | Is This Legit

May 7 YouTube Did the Prime Minister of Japan wear a Trump hat when meeting Kamala Harris? | Is This Legit?

April 26 YouTube Is Georgia's voting law banning food and water the same as in Biden's home state of Delaware?

April 7 YouTube Did Biden use 'cheat sheets' during his press conference? | Is This Legit?

April 2 YouTube No, Pepsi won't make parasites exit your pork | Is This Legit?

                                                                                   

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done_all 1.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please explain any commercial, financial and/or institutional relationship your organization has to the state, politicians or political parties in the country or countries you cover. Also explain funding or support received from foreign as well as local state or political actors over the previous financial year.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

MediaWise has no such relationship. You can find our current list of partners and supporters here: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/.

More information regarding our funding and our policy regarding the disclosure of project funders can be found in our Editorial Standards under our MediaWise Ethics Policies: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. This is an example of how it shows on Twitter its funding relationship with Facebook and then links to its Ethics Policy. 

Files Attached
Facebook MediaWise.p... (47 KB)
done_all 1.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 1.6
Proof you meet criteria
If you confirmed the organization receives funding from local or foreign state or political sources, provide a link to where on your website you set out how you ensure the editorial independence of your work.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 6 months ago

MediaWise has not received funding from political sources.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. 


done_all 1.6 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 2: A commitment to Non-partisanship and Fairness

To be compliant on nonpartisanship and fairness, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 2.1 The applicant fact-checks using the same high standards of evidence and judgement for equivalent claims regardless of who made the claim.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Criteria 2.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please share links to 10 fact checks published over the past year that you believe demonstrate your non-partisanship.
Please briefly explain how the fact checks selected show that (I) you use the same high standards of evidence for equivalent claims, (II) follow the same essential process for every fact check and (III) let the evidence dictate your conclusions.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"The MediaWise project is a nonpartisan initiative dedicated to taking a balanced approach to news and editorial content, with the primary objective of presenting the facts. MediaWise is dedicated to fact-checking both major U.S. political parties, holding both to the same standards. Our Editorial Standards can be found here: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/

Below is an assortment of fact-checks we have posted across a variety of social media platforms:

Claims from liberal/ left-leaning voices:

1. Watch this if you think the Trump family had a riot watch party: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFXAYLTwuWk&list=PL4Q3mxb2_k-I8WiudFlPU32pNu5i-hRqk&index=25

2. These aren't disabled Trump supporters getting arrested for storming the Capitol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AEJn19KtpA&list=PL4Q3mxb2_k-I8WiudFlPU32pNu5i-hRqk&index=23

3. Bernie Sanders: 10 of the poorest 25 counties are in McConnell's state of Kentucky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdX2t6Ge9lk&list=PL4Q3mxb2_k-I8WiudFlPU32pNu5i-hRqk&index=19&t=9s

4. Fact-checking Joe Biden's claim that he would be the first president without an Ivy League degree: https://www.tiktok.com/@mediawise/video/6881727483465567493?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

5. Fact-checking graphic shared by Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, claiming that no Democratic members of congress are in the top 1 percent of wealth: https://www.tiktok.com/@mediawise/video/6875337179753630982?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

Claims from conservative/right-leaning voices:

1. Is Georgia's voting law banning food and water the same as in Biden's home state of Delaware?: https://youtu.be/88gQPJ3mc_8

2. Dem. Senator did NOT call for Death Penalty of Republicans challenging election: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFYceLTY_X0&list=PL4Q3mxb2_k-I8WiudFlPU32pNu5i-hRqk&index=17&t=9s

3. Fact-checking Donald Trump's claim that sometimes 100,000 people die from the flu each year: https://www.tiktok.com/@mediawise/video/6885831097473715461?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

4. Fact-checking Madison Cawthorn's claim that James Madison signed the Declaration of Independence: https://www.tiktok.com/@mediawise/video/6865782743268166917?lang=en&is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1

5. No, blackouts in Texas weren't caused by renewables: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyIlspziAG8&list=PL4Q3mxb2_k-I8WiudFlPU32pNu5i-hRqk&index=16&t=2s

"

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

These include fact checks from both sides of the aisle and on other subjects including Covid as well as culturally-relevant issues including the Olympics. 


done_all 2.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.2
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you explain how you select claims to check, explaining how you ensure you do not unduly concentrate your fact-checking on any one side, and how you consider the reach and importance of the claims you select to check.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"The MediaWise project prioritizes choosing fact checks that focus on issues and news that are of immediate relevance and interest to our audience, looking for topics that are impacting and affecting them. Many of our fact-checks focus on content that has gone viral and potentially impacted the most people. The MediaWise project is nonpartisan and does not support any one candidate, party or issue. We do our best to maintain political balance in the number of fact-checks we do on each side. While it is important to tap into trending and relevant topics and conversations, it’s also important to be sure we are offering equal scrutiny and criticism across the political spectrum. This is important to our program mission that we make digital media literacy and fact-checking education accessible and inclusive for all, and not alienating audiences, no matter their personal political leanings.

Our story selection process and political neutrality policy can be found in our Editorial Standards, here: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/"

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

This is explained on its website as well as across the platforms--TikTok and Twitter--it uses to reach people. As an example on its website it says:

'Our reporting process includes the following:

Thorough research through search engines like Google;

Reaching out to parties which are the focus of a fact-check to include their perspective

Searching online databases and public records;

Reviewing publications, academic studies and other original data and documentation.'


done_all 2.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Sept. 22, 2020 TikTok Fact checking Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's claims about wealth representation by political party in US Congress. (Screen shot attached from TikTok) the TikTok MediaWise person says: "This graphic has zero source information which is kind of a red flag." He plugged it into Google and saw how many times it had been used and it what context finding out that it was nearly a decade old and was not representative of current demographics of Congress. He completed his fact check by using Open Secrets records from the Center for Responsive Politics to determine wealth breakdowns of elected Congressional members by party.


done_all 2.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will assess compliance through a review of the fact checks published over the previous year. No additional information required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

April 2, 2021 YouTube No, Pepsi won't make parasites exit your pork | Is This Legit?

Outside of politics, this video is an important one that illustrates MediaWise's attempt to help teens be more skeptical of information seen online as well as how videos can be manipulated. 


done_all 2.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 2.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to a place on your website where you publish a statement setting out your policy on non-partisanship for staff and how it ensures the organization meets this criteria.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"The MediaWise project team – including staff, interns, and members of the TFCN and other youth programs – is not permitted to:

- Campaign, rally, march or fundraise for a political party or candidate;

- Donate to a candidate or campaign, political action group or political party;

- Express political views and commentary on social media, either in support of or opposing any candidate, political party, position or issue.

However, the MediaWise team is encouraged to participate in the political process as voters and U.S. citizens.

Our policy regarding the MediaWise staff and political neutrality can be found in our Editorial Standards, under ""Political neutrality and staff."" https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/"

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. 

Its website states: 

'Political neutrality in content:

The MediaWise project is politically neutral and does not support any one candidate, party or issue. We will do our best to maintain political balance in the number of fact-checks we do on each side. While it is important to tap into trending and relevant topics and conversations, it’s also important to be sure we are offering equal scrutiny and criticism across the political spectrum.

It’s important to note that our fact-checking is not necessarily a reflection of the number of misleading stories out there supporting one side or another. We will strive to maintain balance across our own content in order to continue reaching viewers across the political spectrum and strive not to alienate anyone by fact-checking more of one side of the aisle over the other.'



done_all 2.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 3: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Sources

To be compliant on sources, applicants must meet these four criteria

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Criteria 3.1
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

From one of its July 2021 YouTube videos that I saw through its Twitter feed targeting Gen Z (about the Delta variant): "When emotions run high, it's really easy to fall victim to misinformation." #vaccines #deltavariant (a similar video is included in its Tik Tok feed.) On the TikTok version, the announcer explains how to start a Google search to find a reliable source about Delta, and she notes that she has found a site from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that explains more about Delta. (Screen shot here included of what that looks like on TikTok for those unfamiliar with the platform.) She says: "When doing medical research like this, it's best to stick with the experts." She then finds a National Public Radio story and explains in teenager terms what its source, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says about virus variants.    

Files Attached
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done_all 3.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 3.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

July 23 Twitter/TikTok Olympics anti-sex beds" Sources: New York Times; video of Olympic athletes; official statement from Airweave, the company that made the bed                                                                                                            


done_all 3.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 3.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

July 16, 2021 No, Georgia did not ban discussion of race in the classroom

Fact checking a Voice of the People Instagram post from a Dem lobbying organization

Sources: Brittanica; Associated Press; New York Times; CBS News; NBC News; Education Week; Georgia Board of Education resolution posted on a local news site

Emphasizes Lateral Reading, a media literacy skill, and using evidence and opening “multiple tabs”


done_all 3.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 3.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the applicant’s use of sources in a randomised sample of its fact checks to assess compliance. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

June 30, 2021 Virginia making masks illegal: This claim about a Virginia law definitely NEEDS CONTEXT.

Using TikTok to factcheck TikTok misinformation. “Follow along to see how I figured this out” says the MediaWise person.

Sources: VA Gov. Northam quoted in news story; Virginia statute on masks 


done_all 3.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 4: A commitment to Transparency of Funding & Organization

To be compliant on funding and organization, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 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).
  • 4.2 Applicants that are the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization make a statement on ownership.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 4.5 The applicant provides easy means on its website and/or via social media for users to communicate with the editorial team.

Criteria 4.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please confirm whether you are an ‘independent organization’
or ‘the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization’ and share proof of this organizational status.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"We are a fact-checking section of a parent organization.

Each source of funding account for 5% or more of MediaWise's total revenue from the previous financial year are disclosed in our editorial standards, under "" Disclosure of project funders"" https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/ as well as the bottom of our main program page: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/ ."

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. Supporters section is screen shotted here. Visible and easy to find online. 

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done_all 4.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.2
Proof you meet criteria
If your organization is an “independent organization”, please share a link to the page on your website where you detail your funding and indicate the legal form in which the organization is registered (e.g. as a non-profit, as a company etc).
If your organization is “the fact-checking section or unit of a media house or other parent organization”, please share a link to the statement on your website about your ownership.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"MediaWise is a non-profit project of the Poynter Institute. This is stated on our home page under ""Our Supporters."" https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/

This information is also listed in our Editorial Standards, which are also linked on our home page. https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/ "

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant and clear. 


done_all 4.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out your organizational structure, making clear how and by whom editorial control is exercised.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"Each fact-check written by a youth fact-checker goes through a rigorous editing process with a member of the MediaWise team. Student fact-checkers will research, report and write their fact-check and give the claim a rating. A member of the MediaWise team will thoroughly edit the script, confirm its accuracy and either agree with the rating, or suggest a new rating.

The edited script will be sent to a second MediaWise staff member for another round of edits. When a fact-check rating can not be decided on, the fact-check will be sent to MediaWise Editor and Program Manager Katy Byron for final approval.

Once the script has been approved, the youth fact-checker will record and film the fact-check. Each video fact-check is reviewed by a MediaWise staff member and given feedback before being posted to social media. Once the fact-check has been approved, it will be posted to social media by a MediaWise staff member on the student’s behalf.

This information can be found in our Editorial Standards under ""Story Selection and Rating Overview.""

https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/"

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

The one question I had going in was how the staff works with and makes sure the teens/youth fact checkers are working. This is clear. 


done_all 4.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.4
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you set out the professional biographies of those who play a significant part in your organization’s editorial output.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"MediaWise employees who play a significant part of the organization's editorial output can be found on our homepage under " Our Staff. "Clicking each staff photograph will bring you to the professional biographies of each. https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/ "

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. Staff bios attached. 

Files Attached
MediaWise Staff.png (449 KB)
done_all 4.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 4.5
Proof you meet criteria
Please share a link to where on your website you encourage users to communicate with your editorial team.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

Because MediaWise fact-checks are produced for social media, we encourage our audience to reach out to us directly through the platforms. On our main website, we also encourage our followers to use the hashtag #IsThisLegit to flag us on posts they need help checking out. Our audience is also encouraged to reach out to our editorial team through an email address provided. See, follow @MediaWise: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/ 

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. For reference, I emailed the email listed as an audience engagement tool on Friday, July 30 morning and had a response within an hour. 


done_all 4.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 5: A commitment to Standards and Transparency of Methodology

To be compliant on methodology, applicants must meet these six criteria

  • 5.1 The applicant publishes on its website a statement about the methodology it uses to select, research, write and publish its fact checks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Criteria 5.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to the statement on your website that explains the methodology you use to select, research, write and publish your fact checks.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"Our fact checks strive to be engaging by focusing on teaching media literacy skills while telling a good story. We want our audience to come away with tangible tips, skills and advice for how they can identify reliable and unreliable information online.

How we choose claims to fact-check

The MediaWise project prioritizes choosing fact checks that focus on issues and news that are of immediate relevance and interest to our audience, looking for topics that are impacting and affecting them. In most cases, the claims we fact-check have already gone viral on a social media platform. 

MediaWise youth fact-checkers look for claims that have gone viral on their own social media feeds. We also encourage our audience to submit claims to us by flagging possible misinformation on social media through the use of our hashtag, #IsThisLegit. Readers can also submit claims they would like us to fact-check via email to mwtips@poynter.org.

While we would love to be able to check out every reader-submitted claim, the MediaWise team will prioritize claims that have garnered the attention of a lot of people on social media. MediaWise cannot fact-check opinions, predictions or promises.

Political neutrality in content:

The MediaWise project is politically neutral and does not support any one candidate, party or issue. We will do our best to maintain political balance in the number of fact-checks we do on each side. While it is important to tap into trending and relevant topics and conversations, it’s also important to be sure we are offering equal scrutiny and criticism across the political spectrum. 

It’s important to note that our fact-checking is not necessarily a reflection of the number of misleading stories out there supporting one side or another. We will strive to maintain balance across our own content in order to continue reaching viewers across the political spectrum and strive not to alienate anyone by fact-checking more of one side of the aisle over the other.

Ratings:

For every fact-check story, a rating is included that tells our audience what we concluded after fact-checking a claim. MediaWise fact-checks typically fall into these ratings categories:

Legit. The claim, photo or video is real and the information is accurate. 

Mostly legit. The claim, photo or video is mostly true, but some small details are incorrect.

Needs context. The claim, photo or video does not have all of the information needed to be fully understood and assessed.

Mixed bag. The claim, photo or video is roughly half true/ half false.

Mostly not legit. The claim, photo or video is mostly false, but some small details are rooted in truth.

Not legit. The claim, photo or video is inaccurate or being taken out of context. 

Satire: The claim, photo or video used humor, irony, exaggeration, and false information to comment on current events and pop culture. It may be fake but it’s meant to be a joke. 

Editorial oversight

Each fact-check written by a youth fact-checker goes through a rigorous editing process with a member of the MediaWise team. Student fact-checkers will research, report and write their fact-check and give the claim a rating. A member of the MediaWise team will thoroughly edit the script, confirm its accuracy and either agree with the rating, or choose a new rating.

The edited script will be sent to a second MediaWise staff member for review. When a fact-check rating can not be decided on, the fact-check will be sent to MediaWise Editor and Program Manager Katy Byron for final approval.

Once the script has been approved, the youth fact-checker will record and film the fact-check. Each video fact-check is reviewed by a MediaWise staff member and given feedback before being posted to social media. Once the fact-check has been approved, it will be posted to social media by a MediaWise staff member on the student’s behalf.

Information regarding our methodology can be found in our Editorial Standards, under ""Story Selection and Rating Overview."" https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/ "

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

This really is the coolest part of the MediaWise site. It offers fact checks, but its methodology could easily be applied by a "regular" user to other stories or viral items not included in its fact checks. It's a great way to develop media literacy not just for teens but for adults, too. 


done_all 5.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Feb. 26, 2021 YouTube Dem. Senator did NOT call for Death Penalty of Republicans Challenging Election | Is This Legit?

Fact checking a claim on a site called The Next News Network. The MediaWise teen explains who is behind the site using its About link on its site. She urges users to differentiate between a site’s opinion and its facts, which she says “can be kind of tricky on YouTube.” She also shows Google that called that site a “hive of conspiracy theories.” She shows how a site making claims they are “pro-Trump.” She finds the original video of a NH politician to show she never said what she said. She also looks up the US federal criminal code to explain what the law on treason says. 


done_all 5.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.3
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

June 25 TikTok Yes, West Virginia is giving out guns as part of a vaccine incentive

On TikTok MediaWise says “we show you how we found that that—yes—West Virginia is giving out guns.” They break it down doing three methods/ways users could apply this in the future.

1. Keyword search 2. Lateral reading (look for deeper searches) 3. Reading upstream (track down the original source behind the claim) and he shows the West VA governor saying guns will be awarded as well as scholarships 


done_all 5.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.4
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Feb. 22, 2021 YouTube

Bernie Sanders: 10 of the poorest 25 counties are in McConnell's state of Kentucky | Is This Legit?

Uses a three-question process developed by Stanford University to investigate Sanders’ claim made on the floor of the Senate the teen fact checker determined it was not accurate.

1. Who is behind the information? Bernie Sanders/The Progressive Voice/ultra liberal group

2. What is the evidence? Sanders doesn’t site the source. “This is kind of a red flag.”

3. What are other sources saying? Googles and finds a Kentucky news source, which notes Sanders misused the statistics on poverty in Kentucky;” primary sources are the way to go” so he goes to Census data. Turns out five not 10 are the poorest. 


done_all 5.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.5
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the methodology used in a randomised sample of your fact checks to assess compliance with these criteria. No additional evidence is required.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

May 25, 2021 TikTok Derek Chauvin's lawyer didn't blame aliens for George Floyd's death

“In this fact-check we examine a TikTok video claiming space aliens are to blame for George Floyd's death. Watch to see how we determined our final rating.”

Keyword search. She uses Politifact which sited the transcript. She clicks through (reading upstream) to emphasize the importance of using primary sources so she uses the court transcript. She also used video of the trial to show what actually was said. 

Files Attached
Chauvin Alien MediaW... (202 KB)
done_all 5.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 5.6
Proof you meet criteria
Please describe how you encourage 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. Include links where appropriate. If you do not allow this, explain why.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"MediaWise encourages readers to reach out to us directly through social media, or by alerting us to possible misinformation through the use of our hashtag, #IsThisLegit. MediaWise also encourages readers to submit claims to be fact-checked via email at mwtips@poynter.org. Information for submitting a claim can be found on our main website, here: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/

While we would love to be able to check out every reader-submitted claim, the MediaWise team will prioritize claims that have garnered the attention of a lot of people on social media. MediaWise cannot fact-check opinions, predictions or promises. Information regarding how MediaWise chooses fact-checkable claims can be found in our Editorial Standards under ""Story Selection and Rating Overview."" https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/"

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. I think this is very clear and explains what is and not covered by MediaWise. 


done_all 5.6 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Section 6: A commitment to an Open & Honest Corrections Policy

To be compliant on corrections policy, applicants must meet these five criteria

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Criteria 6.1
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a link to where you publish on your website your corrections or complaints policy. If you are primarily a broadcaster, please provide evidence you frequently reference your corrections policy in broadcasts.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"Our corrections policy can be found in our Editorial Standards, here: https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/. It reads:

MediaWise issues corrections with the appropriate transparency as quickly as possible if an error has occurred. Depending on the platform on which the fact check was originally published, corrections may be handled differently to address those platform differences:

Instagram Story: We will post a correction on the Instagram story, add it to the corresponding highlight and include text with the correction information in the related feed post (if there is one).

Instagram feed post: We will add text to the feed post caption with details of the correction.

IGTV: We will add text to the feed post caption with details of the correction.

Twitter: We will add a tweet to the thread of the original tweet. If the error was particularly egregious, we’ll also publish a new tweet linking to the tweet with the error.

Facebook: We will post a correction on our page and link to the story with the error, or if possible, edit the original post and note that the post has been updated and corrected.

YouTube: We will add a correction to the video description box and text in the video title at the end.

Poynter.org: Corrections or updates will be added to the bottom of text article fact checks featured on Poynter’s website.

If the correction is debilitating to the story, we will consider removing it and issuing a correction in the relevant format in an attempt to reach the same audience who saw the initial story. These instances will be handled on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the MediaWise manager Katy Byron.

Readers can bring errors to our attention by emailing us at mwtips@poynter.org or by sending us a direct message on any of our @MediaWise social channels. We may not respond in cases where the request for correction is unwarranted.

"

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

This is clear, and it is easy to understand and to follow. I think it's notable that its correction policy parallels its multiplatform approach, meaning that it explains how a correction on YouTube may differ from one on TikTok. 


done_all 6.1 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.2
Proof you meet criteria
The assessor will review the corrections policy to verify it meets critera. No additional information needed.

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Yes, this meets the criteria. 


done_all 6.2 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.3
Proof you meet criteria
Please provide a short statement about how the policy was adhered to over the previous year (or six months if this is the first application) including evidence of two examples of the responses provided by the applicant to a correction request over the previous year. Where no correction request has been made in the previous year, you must state this in your application, which will be publicly available in the assessment if your application is successful.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"MediaWise will issue corrections or clarifications on the appropriate social media platform where the fact-check was published. Because every youth-created fact-check is heavily vetted by a MediaWise staffer, MediaWise only had to issue one correction over the previous year on a youth-written fact-check published to poynter.org.

MediaWise issued a correction and updated the rating on this fact-check about the claim that former President Donald Trump would be eliminating Social Security. https://www.poynter.org/tfcn/2020/fact-check-does-the-president-want-to-defund-social-security/ "

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

I think it's important to note that the correction is shown at the top under the byline. It says: 'This fact-check has been updated.' It also is included in the tag 'corrections and clarifications.'


done_all 6.3 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.4
Proof you meet criteria
If you are an existing signatory, please provide a link to show where on your site you inform users that if they believe you are violating the IFCN Code, they may inform the IFCN of this, with a link to the complaints page on the IFCN site.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"Our participation in the International Fact-checking Network

MediaWise is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checking Network’s code of principles. They include:

- A commitment to nonpartisanship and fairness.

- A commitment to standards and transparency of sources.

- A commitment to transparency of funding & organization.

- A commitment to standards and transparency of methodology.

- A commitment to an open & honest corrections policy.

MediaWise first became a signatory to the IFCN principles on May 8, 2020. The application and an independent assessment of our work is available for the public to view via the International Fact-Checking Network. The network offers a complaint process to the public for anyone who believes that a fact-checking organization is significantly violating its commitment to the code.

This information can be found in our Editorial Standards, under ""Our participation in the International Fact-checking Network"" https://www.poynter.org/mediawise-editorial-standards-and-rating-system/" 

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. 


done_all 6.4 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.

Criteria 6.5
Proof you meet criteria
If you are the fact-checking unit of a media company, please provide a link to the parent media company’s honest and open corrections policy and provide evidence that it adheres to this.

MediaWise
19-May-2021 (6 months ago) Updated: 5 months ago

"Poynter readers can submit a correction here:

https://www.poynter.org/archive/2016/submitting-a-correction-to-poynter-2/

Here is an archive of all of the corrections and clarifications issues on the website:

https://www.poynter.org/tag/poynter-corrects/"

Margot Susca Assessor
30-Jul-2021 (4 months ago) Updated: 4 months ago

Compliant. 


done_all 6.5 marked as Compliant by Margot Susca.