Checking in on Fact Checking in Science Journalism

The Knight Science Journalism at MIT program took a close look at one of science journalism’s most underappreciated practices — and uncovered a few surprises.

“The State of Fact Checking in Science Journalism,” one of the first industry-wide looks at how science news publications go about ensuring the trustworthiness of their reporting. A key takeaway: Different outlets approach the task in vastly different ways.

“So, what is the state of fact-checking? The report seems to confirm at least one long-held suspicion: that support for fact-checking is waning. Only about a third of the publications in the study employ independent fact checkers. About 15% said they rely on copy editors for fact-checking. Others place the onus on journalists and editors, and about a third have no formal fact-checking procedures in place at all.”


Read an excerpt and download the full report here.


FUNDING & TEAM

The study was funded by a grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, overseen by Knight Science Journalism Program director Deborah Blum, and spearheaded by Brooke Borel, a freelance journalist and editor.


Photo credit: The Climate Reality Project / Unsplash