FAQ: What is Philstar.com's fact-check initiative? Why trust our fact checks?

FAQ: What is Philstar.com's fact-check initiative? Why trust our fact checks?
The Philstar.com fact-checking initiative part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator —  an Internews project to build up the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts
Composite photo by Philstar.com / Rico Alonzo

Here we answer frequently asked questions about our fact-check initiative. 

What is this project? 

The Philstar.com fact-checking initiative part of the Philippine Fact-check Incubator —  an Internews project to build up the fact-checking capacity of news organizations in the Philippines and encourage participation in global fact-checking efforts.

We do our best to adhere to the principles and requirements set by the International Fact-Check Network at Poynter

Our methodology: Why trust our fact checks? 

Each of our fact checks comes with the name of the Philstar.com staff member who produced it and sources for the fact checks are cited. We also link to sources and include screenshots when relevant.

These sources are freely available to the public for your own verification.

Here’s a quick look at our team’s fact check process: 

  • Claims are sent by readers through email or sourced through social media tools like CrowdTangle and sent to news editors and the editor-in-chief for review and approval.
  • Fact checks are assigned to writers and reviewed by reporters who have trained with the Philippine Fact Check Incubator, supported by Internews.
  • Final drafts are reviewed by reporters who have trained with fact-checking units from notable publications under the Philippine Fact Check Incubator, supported by Internews.

What is our rating system? 

Claims are assigned ratings to serve as a quick and easy summary of the accuracy and overall veracity of the claim. At Philstar.com, we use four main ratings: 

  • False - The post’s overall message is patently incorrect and possibly deliberate. This includes posts that can make use of genuine statements and media but are used to push a false narrative. Overall, the post is incorrect but it is unclear if it is willfully misleading.
  • True - The claim and its underlying narrative are factual.
  • Fake - These refer to deliberately changed statements, photos, and videos. This will also include altered and edited images, videos, and other media.
  • Misleading - Whether deliberate or not, the content of this post distorts the reality behind its claims. This will also cover missing context posts. Some parts of the claim are factually correct but the overall narratives are incorrect. 

Apart from examining the claims, our fact checks also aim to explain to readers the essential context surrounding facts or events, and to help them understand why we reported the issue.

What are the claims we fact check?

We fact-check public statements made by government officials and other personalities who may have a wide reach and a large audience.

Apart from our team’s regular monitoring of our own social media channels, we also use the monitoring tool Crowdtangle and process claims submitted to us through social media and dedicated email, [email protected].

Our corrections policy: What happens when we get it wrong? What happens if a reader notices an error?

Readers who wish to have matters clarified or details corrected may reach us through our social media channels or our dedicated email, [email protected].

After we receive the correction, our editors will look into it and have the reporter who wrote the fact check verify it.

If the report needs to be corrected, the copy will reflect the updates and include an Editor’s Note explaining the changes made to the story.

If necessary, we may also update the fact-check rating initially assigned to the claim.

Philstar.com will repost the corrected fact check on our social media channels.

How about partisanship? How do we ensure there is no conflict of interest?

We do not fact check claims about Philstar.com’s corporate owners or about Philstar.com, unless in cases where public interest is imbued in the story.

Philstar.com adheres to the Journalist's Code of Ethics adopted in 1988 by the Philippine Press Institute, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the National Press Club.

We are also guided by “The Elements of Journalism” (Kovach and Rosenstiel), which holds that journalism "carries with it a responsibility to improve the quality of debate by providing verified information and intellectual rigor." 

Who are our fact-checkers?

(Updated 9:36 a.m., Sept. 13, 2023)

Editor-in-chief: Camille Diola

Managing editor: Kristine Daguno-Bersamina

Editor: Rosette Adel (News)

Reporters and producers:

Who funds our fact-checking?

(Updated 2:37 p.m., Oct. 18, 2022)

Philstar Global Corp., which runs Philstar.com, is part of the STAR Group of Publications but is incorporated and recognized as a separate company from Philstar Daily Inc. which runs the newspaper The Philippine STAR. Thus Philstar Global has its own headquarters and facilities as well as separate editorial, administration, advertising, sales and web development staff. 

Although the website began solely as a portal and repository for The STAR, Philstar.com since 2009 has been producing its own content and publishing special reports and series independent of the newspaper and its processes.

Philstar.com does continue to host articles originally published by The STAR, but the website's editorial team is responsible for its original online content including fact checks following its own editorial guidelines.

Similarly, revenues of Philstar Global, which funds Philstar.com and its fact-checking operation, are separate from that of the newspaper and other units in the STAR Group. These are sourced from digital advertising and direct sales (61%), programmatic (30%), and B2B advertising and licensing (9%).

Philstar.com Fact Check received operational and training assistance from the Philippine Fact Check Incubator supported by Internews, an international media nonprofit, from 2021 to 2022.

The STAR under Philstar Daily Inc. has editorial control over the newspaper's pieces and select digital properties such as the Philstar L!fe website and ONE News in its joint venture with Cignal TV. Philstar Global Corp. and the staff of Philstar.com are not involved in these titles.

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