Some have recently called our editorial process, honesty, and ability to obtain quotes from companies into question.
I wanted to take a few minutes and share how Coin Fire goes about gathering facts and information, verifying the information, and creating features for our site.
Coin Fire has always stood for factual, verified, and honest pieces. We strive to make sure that each thing we report is verified.
Today, I want to share with our readers what this process looks like and what our very own internal guidebooks and guidelines say regarding fact-checking, sources, editorial content, and approvals.
When we receive information from someone about a story, we immediately begin following our own internal guidelines.Coin Fire Contributor’s Bible – November 2014 Edition
Each month, we publish an internal guide called The Contributor’s Bible. Inside this document, we address a range of issues including current editorial rules and policies.
Our first step of each story is to begin a basic verification of where the information is coming from. Our internal guide defines this as a basic search: Google for the source’s name, check LinkedIn profiles, verify the email address of the person sending a tip or information, etc.. This serves as a basic spot check and is not a confirmation in any way, shape, or form.
Only after a basic spot check returns some valid results can a contributor approach the editorial team and seek permission to run a story. The editorial team does not serve to squash stories against advertisers, pump pieces, or even steer the direction of the site in a way that benefits or hurts anyone. The editorial team decides what will be relevant to our audience, what is news versus opinion, and which pieces might need more contributors or researchers.
Coin Fire reports news, not opinions. The editorial team helps make sure that this is always the case.
If the basic source checks can be verified, the contributor begins to write the piece. If a quote needs to be obtained from a source who wishes to remain anonymous or with a source that has not yet been verified and vetted previously, we will send a contributor to meet with this person via Skype or in-person to further understand the situation regarding the story.
During the writing of this piece, we follow our editorial protocol. We verify employment of the source or if the company is real and exists. We check with all references when possible, verify public records, and review all relevant information. We want to make sure we are getting things right.
Vetting sources and waiting for three confirmations per piece–which oftentimes takes weeks–is what has helped Coin Fire keep up such a high level of commitment to delivering the most honest pieces.
As a story is being written, we are constantly checking the facts. We receive new information each day via email, our contact form, and even via text messages. Very few pieces will actually be published however. Many pieces may be drafted, but are not published due to our own internal guidelines and processes for publishing pieces.
As an author is writing a piece, he/she is instructed to do so via an internal system that allows our editors the ability to see what is being written and provide notes. This also allows for additional fact-checking. If at any point an editor can’t be provided with a relevant, factual piece of information backing a statement, we kill the feature.
This fact-checking system has prevented false stories concerning insured exchanges from being reported and allowed us to post relevant information regarding the BFL raid while it was taking place. This system also allowed Coin Fire to publish SEC documents as they were being delivered, and it even helped validate information regarding a recent story with GAW Miners.
Our editorial team has connections in the mainstream media, multiple government organizations, and several startups and venture capital firms. We can bring factual, and sometimes even leaked information, because of our connections. That being said, we still vet and verify every single source. No one receives preferential treatment simply because they know our editorial team. We still verify employment, documents, and other relevant information each time. As a result, Coin Fire may publish a story later than our peers.
We’ve enclosed some of our editorial processes below.
[table id=4 /]
Coin Fire does not make it a habit to publish press releases without accurately verifying the information presented. If a company says XYZ is involved, we verify that information before publishing. If a claim is made regarding the legal status of an item, we have attorneys review the statements made. If a claim is made in a press release regarding quotes, we verify with the sources.
We are currently working to make our Contributor’s Bible public in the near future. We want our reporting and that of our peers to be fair, honest, and balanced. Our hope is that we can help elevate the ecosystem with these materials. We are preparing this bible for public consumption by removing some of our proprietary source information and some of the information specific to our own internal systems. We are also working to improve the overall flow of this document.
If you are interested in being notified upon this document’s release, please send an email to [email protected]. I’ll be sure to send you a message letting you know when it has been made public via our website and GitHub.