What stuff do you fact check?
In order for FactCheckNI to research a claim, the claim must be:
- a statement made in public, which can be attributed to a specific person (e.g. a politician or campaigner) or organisation (e.g. a report)
- an assertion or allegation that can be validated or refuted (to a degree)
- based on past or present actions (i.e. not speculative about the future)
Why should I accept anything you say?
Claims that are researched by FactCheckNI are done so only with publicly available sources.
Where possible, we will attempt to contact the person/organisation who made the claim, to verify the accuracy of the original statement. We will investigate any sources that the claimant provides.
In our research, we are aware of the variable standards of quality, and we will verify the methodology applied. For example, information provided by a statutory statistical agency may take less time to validate than a dial-in telephone survey to a radio programme.
We seek out sources of evidence that could contradict our developed conclusion, and we provide source links to all cited evidence that supports as well as refutes the claim.
In all our published articles, we will write in the style of research discovery, whereby a reader can follow our investigation and double-check our source links.
While we will publish an overall summary of our findings about the claim, readers are free to draw their own conclusions, whether in agreement or not with ours, and whether with or without the evidence that we provide.
We welcome submission of further evidence, post-publication of any FactCheckNI article, whether it validates or refutes our conclusion. Where a correction to our article is required, we will do so with transparency. An updated article will be annotated as such at its header, with a description of the amendment in its footer.
New information can be sent to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s your bias?
We are acutely aware that in a contested place such as Northern Ireland, many people use a “telling process” to try to discover “which side” someone is coming from.
Everyone involved at FactCheckNI ‐‐ volunteers, interns, committee members, team managers and the board ‐‐ work under the fundamental principles of impartiality, transparency and accuracy.
Impartiality means that we cover claims across the political spectrum, without fear or favour. We check all sides, and provide the widest range of sources for a fact‐checked claim. Our final articles involve many participants in its creation, and thus we do not publish author by‐lines; you can review our project team here.
Transparency means that we will always attempt to contact the source of the claim. We provide links to sources (always public; never anonymous ones). You will be able to discover the source of our sources.
Accuracy means that we double‐check a fact check with at least two people before publishing. When we make mistakes, we correct them as quickly as possible, and allow viewers to easily see what we’ve corrected.
Are you trying to tell if a politician is lying?
Lying means that someone purposefully intended to mislead someone else. That’s a hard case to prove, and that’s not what we do. (Even in Parliament, declaring a fellow member as a liar is a serious accusation.)
We are not trying to examine the intent behind a statement, rather, many of us are probably guilty of saying something inaccurate to another person or group, later relieved that it was likely forgotten. For politicians, in the media glaze and covering a wide range of topics, their mistakes are rapidly replayed across the airwaves and social media channels.
We believe that what is more important than catching a politician out is to present the additional perspectives and/or nuances of a claim. You can then decide how much a public representative is consistent with his or her facts.
How do I submit a claim to be fact checked?
Simply by completing our online form.
We cannot promise to check every claim suggested but we do promise to read all suggestions.
It would be helpful if you provide as much information as possible, such as date, source, and any particular reason why you’re skeptical of the claim.
We will then submit it to our editorial process. We may not be able to reply how far we process it, yet we welcome claims from the public for consideration.
How can I help out?
If you like our work, you can help by giving a regular or one‐off donation: http://factcheckni.org/donate
If you have expertise in one of our topics, and agree with us that fact checking can improve the quality of public debate in Northern Ireland, then please let us know so we can consider your knowledge and skills.
If you have even just a few hours a week to spare, you can assist us by becoming a FactCheckNI Media Monitor volunteer. We’ll provide training, support and some craic!