More Review Questions

NewsTrust offers four versions of our review forms with varying lengths: Short, Quick, Full and Advanced, as outlined below.

  • Short Review Form (3 questions for new members)
  • Quick Review Form (5 questions for active reviewers)
  • Full Review Form (10 questions for experienced reviewers)
  • Advanced Review Form (18 questions for experts)

This part of our guide will help you answer the questions for these review forms: "Full Review Form" and the "Advanced Review Form." For tips on our "Short Review "Form" or "Quick Review Form," check our section on How to Review a Story.

We offer two different kinds of review forms: the rating form, which uses a scale from 1 to 5 to rate questions

, and the button form, which ask yes-or-no questions to answer the same questions.

To change between the Short, Quick, Full, and Advanced Review forms, simply click the drop-down menu in our review forms, and select the questions you feel most comfortable answering.

• Is it accurate?
Can you confirm that it is true? Have you yourself verified some of the facts and observations in this story? If so, did you find that information to be correct? If not, are you confident that the information has been verified? To answer this question, you may want to do some of your own research, and look at how other publications covered this story. If you do not know anything about this topic and do not have time to research it, please do not answer this question.

• Is it balanced?
Does this story represent diverse viewpoints? Are the key parties affected by this story cited by the author? Balance involves presenting different perspectives on an issue, with the same care and respect for all sides. But it has its limits. A good news story does not include misinformation from one side in the name of balance. It looks at all sides of an issue, without abandoning its focus on verified facts and information.

• Does it show context?
Does this story give the "big picture"? Is there enough background to explain how this story relates to other important world events? Or does the story merely describe what happened? "Big picture" reporting looks below the surface. Quality journalism, whether it’s news or opinion, is made meaningful by its context — it’s much more than just a list of reliable facts.

• Is it enterprising?
Does this story show initiative? Courage? Did the author or publication take risks gathering and publishing this story? Were significant resources involved? Enterprise journalism (also called investigative reporting) uncovers major information through extensive research — not based on a mere press release or public statement. Enterprise journalism is gutsy, proactive and represents a substantial investment on the part of the author and/or the publication.

• Are experts cited?
Are the sources qualified? Knowledgeable? Does this story cite credible experts with unique knowledge of the facts? A good news story, or a well argued opinion, usually seeks out authoritative sources confirm or explain key information. Independent sources whose view might not be influenced by a stake in the story are particularly valuable.

• Is it original?
Does this story offer a new perspective? Does the author break new ground that hasn't been covered elsewhere? Originality applies to both news and opinion in this sense. An original news article gives us information we wouldn't have been able to learn on our own. It can also tell a familiar story in a new way. An original opinion piece brings up valuable perspectives and arguments about an issue that aren't already in the public discussion. Since this is a comparative question, it's helpful to know what other publications have said about the issue.

• Is it relevant?
Is this story newsworthy? Meaningful? Does the author focus on important aspects of this topic? Does the public benefit by reading this story? News organizations and journalists must always ask what information is most valuable for the public interest. Relevant news and opinion help citizens participate more informed decisions. Sensationalism, exaggeration and false importance in journalism distract us from these goals.

• Is it responsible?
Are claims valid, ethical, unbiased? Is the author acting responsibly, respectfully and with integrity? Or is this story based on rumors, errors or falsehoods that jeopardize the public interest? If journalists are to be guardians of democracy and good government, they must lead by example — requiring greater ethical standards than other types of communication, such as propaganda or entertainment.

• Is it transparent?
Are there enough links and references? Can you tell how the story was gathered? How well does the author inform readers about how the information in the story was collected? As a rule, all sources should be named; links to factual evidence should be provided; third-party studies and reports should be cited; and reporting methods should be documented.

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