AMW Credibility Scores
All forms of media are inherently biased. From selection of events, stories, and content to how they are reported and covered. Practical limitations to media neutrality include the inability of journalists to report all available stories and facts, and the requirement that selected facts be linked into a coherent narrative. In some cases, government influence, including overt and covert censorship can create bias.
However, choice of stories and a degree of “editorial slant” does not render a given publication inherently untrustworthy. Every company, publisher, and reporter will frame a given narrative in a certain, possibly vastly different way. The question every consumer of media should ask themselves is whether the source can be trusted. At a minimum, facts should always be reported accurately. A more difficult question is whether the editorial slant is so severe that a reasonably informed media consumer can no longer separate facts from a strongly preferred editorial message or version of events.
In today’s media landscape, the ability to separate facts from “fake news” has never been more important.
Asia Media Watch issues an AMW Credibility Score © for all audited members as well as non-members.
AMW Scores are issued by a panel of approximately 120 respected journalists and academics in the field of journalism, from across the Asia-Pacific region. Each of the approximately 20 nations served is represented by six journalists from that nation. These six journalists represent: 1) two with a conservative view, 2) two with a liberal/progressive view, and 3) two with a more neutral or objective view.
Panel journalists are asked to serve a one-year term to evaluate articles submitted to them, assigning AMW scores to each article based on factual accuracy and editorial bias. AMW scores are issued jointly by each country’s six-member panel and are not subject to review or alteration by Asia Media Watch or Easton-Harlow Press.
At the end of each year’s term, all past and current panel journalists are allowed to cast one vote for their next year’s replacement. For example, conservative journalists in Indonesia vote on their next year’s replacement, liberal/progressive journalists in Thailand vote on their next year’s replacement, and neutral journalists in Philippines vote on their next year’s replacement. While panelists may serve more than one term, no panelist may serve more than two consecutive terms.
Article Evaluation and Methodology
Asia Media Watch auditors, using random number generators, determine on which dates articles will be pulled for evaluation. Approximately 7.5% of dates are pulled resulting in approximately 27 days of review.
On days of review, approximately 25% of all articles published by a given publication will be pulled for review by the panel of journalists.
Asia Media Watch auditors do not participate in article review and are strictly prohibited from any form of professional or personal/informal contact with the panel journalists.
Failure of Asia Media Watch auditors and staff to observe strict guidelines on professional conduct and procedures during the audit process can result in immediate dismissal.
When determining bias, there is not true scientific formula that is 100% objective. There are objective measures that can be calculated, but ultimately there will be some degree of subjective judgement to determine these.
The categories are as follows:
Biased Wording/Headlines- Does the source use loaded words to convey emotion to sway the reader. Do headlines match the story.
Factual/Sourcing- Does the source report factually and back up claims with well sourced evidence.
Story Choices: Does the source report news from both sides or do they only publish one side.
Political Affiliation: How strongly does the source endorse a particular political ideology? In other words how extreme are their views. (This can be rather subjective)
Approximately 27 times per year, articles are pulled from publications throughout the Asia-Pacific by our auditors for article evaluation by our panel of journalists. Each of the approximately 270,000 articles pulled each year for evaluation is assigned an AMW Score. At the end of each calendar year, each publication is assigned a publication/organization AMW score representing the aggregation of all articles reviewed throughout the year. AMW Scores fall broadly into three categories.
Facts are reported accurately and on a consistent basis. Editorial bias may be present, but is not considered to be so severe that a reasonably informed media consumer cannot make an independent judgement on the merits or factual accuracy of the story. Editorial bias that is present is evaluated and degrees of editorial bias or lack thereof result in additions or subtractions to the base score.
10 100% accurate reporting. 100% objective and free of editorial bias. 100% of the time. This is a theoretical “perfect score” which cannot be met in practice.
9-9.99 The highest standards of journalism. Rarely has factual errors. High level of analysis. Facts are consistently and abundantly validated by sources and references. Objective with little to no editorial bias.
8.75-9 High standards of journalism. Rarely has factual errors. Some editorial bias.
8.5-8.75 High standards of journalism but with a higher level of editorial bias
8.25-8.5 High standards of journalism but with a high level of editorial bias
8-8.25 Medium standards of journalism, but with low editorial bias
Minimum standards of journalism are met. Facts are generally accurate although in-depth analysis or extensive citation of sources may not be present and/or on a consistent basis. Editorial bias is evaluated and degrees of editorial bias or lack thereof result in additions or subtractions to the base score.
7 Medium standards of good journalism, with medium level of editorial bias
6 Medium standards of good journalism, with a high level of editorial bias
Consistently higher to very high level of factual inaccuracy. Stories that are factually accurate show an extremely strong bias trending towards blatant propaganda that may confuse even a reasonably informed and sophisticated consumer of media. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, are websites and publications considered as pseudoscience, fake news, racist and hate publications, as well as blatant propaganda that indicate no true journalistic standards whatsoever.
5 Although a legally established and accredited news source: Low standards of journalism, high level of factual inaccuracy, with a low level of editorial bias
4 Although a legally established and accredited news source: Low standards of journalism, high level of factual inaccuracy, with a high level of editorial bias
3 Base score of certain personal websites, blogs, and company newsletters. Personal websites and blogs can be legitimate sources of useful and credible information. This base score reflects that personal websites, blogs, and company newsletters are not legally established and accredited news sources and do not purport to hold to the minimum standards of acceptable journalism. However, starting at this base score, the ultimate AMW score may be adjusted up significantly based on other factors: quality of information published, quantity of information published, usefulness to an interested reader, clear lack of bias and complete objectivity on a subject of interest to a particular set of media consumers, extensive sourcing of facts.
2 Publications and media of a purely entertainment nature. This score does not reflect the quality of entertainment or media provided, rather that such publications, websites, and media cannot be considered as sources of news and information.
1 Not journalism. Not trustworthy. Pseudoscience. Fake News. Conspiracy theory websites and publications. Racist and hate publications. Media that publishes easily fact-checked falsehoods in a deliberate attempt to mislead. No journalistic standards, merit, or trustworthiness whatsoever.