About The Walrus
The Walrus, founded in 2003, provokes new thinking and sparks conversation on matters vital to Canadians.
As a registered charity, we publish independent, fact-based journalism in The Walrus and at thewalrus.ca; we produce national, ideas-focused events, including our flagship series The Walrus Talks; and we train emerging professionals in publishing and non-profit management. The Walrus is invested in the idea that a healthy society relies on informed citizens.
The fact-checking standard for journalism in The Walrus and at thewalrus.ca is among the most rigorous in the industry. You can find out more about donors and supporters of The Walrus here.
About The Walrus Fact-Checking
In response to growing awareness of the spread of fake news and misinformation, The Walrus has decided to join other organizations worldwide in fact-checking information published on social media, on independent websites, and by other media outlets.
Content on The Walrus Fact-Checking website is produced separately from the editorial content of The Walrus and thewalrus.ca. Because this initiative was established to verify outside content, which was produced by other publications with different editorial standards, the fact-checking methodology for The Walrus Fact-Checking is different than for The Walrus journalism—we cannot always interview a story’s original source, for example. It is designed to meet the standards of Poynter, the independent international fact-checking organization. We are committed to fact-checking that is fair, accurate, transparent, and independent.
More information about The Walrus and our ownership and funding structure can be found on our sitewide policies.
The Walrus, like other Canadian publications, receives financial support from the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. A description of this funding is available here.
Who We Are
Head of Research and
Associate Editor, The Walrus
Fact checkers choose what information and published material to review for accuracy based on the principles described below. We also accept reader suggestions (please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org). In the course of our work we may review the accuracy of claims made by elected officials, articles published by other media organizations, and online photos or videos. Once a particular item has been fact-checked, it is rated for accuracy.
The substance of our fact-checking is based on verifiable facts; we do not check opinions, but we may check the facts on which an opinion is based. We will focus our attention and resources on the issues that are most important and newsworthy to Canadians, which means the subject matter will vary (we may, for example, focus on political coverage during an election period).
Fact-checkers consider the following criteria in fact-checking items (and how to rate them):
Is there at least one verifiable and/or disputable fact (e.g., “Canada’s population in 2017 was 35 million”)?
Is the fact significant?
Is the fact or the story in which it appears relevant to our audience?
Is the fact or the story in which it appears likely to be shared by others?
Is the fact open to interpretation (could different readers understand its meaning differently, in which case it would require clarification)?
Is our rating of the fact consistent with how we rated a similar type of claim in the past?
In reviewing claims, The Walrus Fact-Checking team may review previous research by The Walrus (which maintains records for several years), reporting by trusted publications (such as other fact-checked magazines), online databases and research resources, and the conclusions of other accredited fact checkers about the contested item. If appropriate, the team will also consult with relevant experts and individuals.
We rate statements based on the information known at the time the statement was made or when the article was published.
The Fact-Checking Rating System
We use the following categories to rate a statement’s accuracy (based on industry fact-checking standard):
FALSE: The claim is inaccurate and in contradiction with the available evidence.
MISLEADING: The claim includes elements of truth but also omits or emphasizes certain information such that it leads the reader to a false conclusion.
MOSTLY TRUE: The claim is largely accurate but either has minor errors in detail that warrant clarification or omits information that is necessary for context.
TRUE: The claim is accurate and backed up by the available evidence.
Our Sourcing Policy
We are committed to transparency about our sources. We prioritize on-the-record interviews and primary sources and documentation (experts and statistical reports, for example). Where a primary source cannot be found, we require at least two secondary sources (such as news reports from trusted media outlets) to confirm a fact.
We provide links to online sources so readers have access to the information we used and can verify it themselves. In cases where an individual is known to the editorial team but must be veiled from the public to ensure their personal security, we provide as much contextual detail as possible.
Wherever appropriate (when their statement requires clarification or they can point us toward relevant sources), we contact the person, website, or organization that made the statement we are fact-checking.
Our Corrections Policy
As soon as The Walrus Fact-Checking team is made aware of a potential error in our reporting, fact checkers will review the statement that has been challenged. Any needed corrections will be noted online at the bottom of the article. The correction will reference the original error and supply the correct information and the date.
If you notice an error in something published by The Walrus Fact-Checking, please send us a message at email@example.com with the subject line “Correction.”
Our Ethics Policy
The Walrus Fact-Checking approaches the truth with a goal to be unaffected by agenda or bias. Our fact checkers are trained to set aside personal opinions so as to uphold principles of independence and fairness. No one working on The Walrus Fact-Checking may engage in partisan political activity or make contributions to candidates or advocacy organizations.
All journalism at The Walrus is produced independently of commercial or political interests. The editorial staff and writers do not accept gifts in order to avoid any conflict of interest or appearance thereof. We also cite potential conflicts of interest on the same page as the relevant work.
The Walrus has a company-wide ethics policy. Contributors are contractually obligated to disclose practices that may deviate from the ethics policy of The Walrus to our team. For any situation not covered by this policy, we refer to the ethics guidelines of the Canadian Association of Journalists.
Editorial Team at The Walrus
The Executive Director of The Walrus Foundation is Jennifer Hollett. The Executive Editor of The Walrus is Jessica Johnson. The complete masthead can be viewed here.
Please send any comments, corrections, or fact-checking suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.