2020 was a record year, not least because of the enormous influx of Covid-related news. By our calculations, as many as 500 articles were published by major local and national news outlets every day over the course of the year. That left a huge range of choice for readers seeking quality, well-researched journalism.

The Factual’s credibility algorithm analyzes 10,000 articles a day from across the U.S. media ecosystem, assessing the credibility of each article based on linked evidence and sources, writing tone, author expertise, and publisher history. To learn more, watch this video or visit our “How It Works” page.

From this data collection, we accrued a dataset of nearly 180,000 articles published about Covid-19 in 2020. Beyond looking at broader media trends and coverage of the pandemic, it allows us to highlight the very best outlets from the left, right, and center, based on clear, quantifiable metrics.

Here’s our top 10 sources on the left for Covid-19 coverage:

Some things to remember:

  • These scores are not like percentage grades — they reflect the algorithm’s level of confidence that a piece of content is credible. Anything over 75% is highly likely to be credible.
  • Our dataset does not necessarily include all articles published by each outlet during the time period. However, in many cases we are confident our data is at the very least a representative sample.
  • The political bias of each publisher is derived from classifications from AllSides and Media Bias Fact Check. Note that the political bias of individual articles may vary from any publisher.

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  1. The Intercept – Median Credibility Grade = 79%
    Number of articles analyzed: 235

    The Intercept seeks to hold the powerful accountable by pursuing changemaking journalism.

    Highest scoring article: “Trump Sets Up Pharma Billionaires for Coronavirus Payday
    Author: Sharon Lerner – Credibility Grade: 92% – Date: October 23, 2020

  2. Inverse – Median Credibility Grade = 79%
    Number of articles analyzed: 55

    With an eye to the millennial crowd, Inverse melds science, technology, and culture into one, detailing aspects of the pandemic.

    Highest scoring article: “Does Your Blood Type Impact Risk of Covid-19? Scientists Have Early Answers”Author: Emma Betuel – Credibility Grade: 91% – Date: October 15, 2020

  3. Grist – Median Credibility Grade = 79%
    Number of articles analyzed: 150

    Grist specializes in coverage of climate, sustainability, and social justice, helping unpack some of Covid-19’s expected and unexpected impacts on the planet.

    Highest scoring article: “EPA settlements are supposed to hold polluters accountable. Will coronavirus get them off the hook?
    Author: Naveena Sadasivam – Credibility Grade: 92% – Date: May 12, 2020

  4. ProPublica – Median Credibility Grade = 78%
    Number of articles analyzed: 186

    Propublica focuses on “investigative journalism in the public interest” and has continued to ask difficult questions during the pandemic.

    Highest scoring article: “‘Fast-Tracking’ a Coronavirus Vaccine Sounds Great. It’s Not That Simple.
    Author: Caroline Chen– Credibility Grade: 90% – Date: June 17, 2020

  5. Lawfare Blog – Median Credibility Grade = 78%
    Number of articles analyzed: 101

    Lawfare’s expdertise falls in the “nebulous zone in which actions taken or contemplated to protect the nation interact with the nation’s laws and legal institutions.”

    Highest scoring article: “State Emergency Authorities to Address COVID-19
    Author: Benjamin Della Rocca, Samantha Fry, Masha Simonova, and Jacques Singer-Emery – Credibility Grade: 91% – Date: May 4, 2020

  6. Brookings Institution – Median Credibility Grade = 77.5%
    Number of articles analyzed: 113

    As one of the country’s preeminent think tank, Brookings is the place to go to understand how local and international Covid-19 policy affects our everyday lives.

    Highest scoring article: “Why extend Pandemic EBT? When schools are closed, many fewer eligible children receive meals.
    Author: Lauren Bauer and Jana Parsons – Credibility Grade: 94% – Date: September 21, 2020

  7. Quartz – Median Credibility Grade = 77%
    Number of articles analyzed: 210

    Quartz’s specialty is understanding the global economy, targeting a “new generation of business leaders.”

    Highest scoring article: “‘Cutting off trivial things’: Chinese consumers are thinking twice about their post-coronavirus spending
    Author: Jane Li – Credibility Grade: 91% – Date: April 6 , 2020

  8. Gizmodo – Median Credibility Grade = 77%
    Number of articles analyzed: 187

    Gizmodo’s bread and butter is technology and futurism, but they also have no shortage of science and health coverage.  

    Highest scoring article: “Researchers Claim Coronavirus Is Airborne in Letter to the WHO, Accuse It of Failing to Convey Risk
    Author: Jody Serrano – Credibility Grade: 91% – Date: July 5, 2020

  9. FiveThirtyEight – Median Credibility Grade = 77%
    Number of articles analyzed: 102

    FiveThirtyEight, best known for its role in election coverage, seeks to use “statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories.”

    Highest scoring article: “COVID-19 Is A Respiratory Disease. So Why Is It Affecting Patients’ Hearts And Brains?
    Author: Kaleigh Rogers – Credibility Grade: 91% – Date: May 28, 2020

  10. Vox – Median Credibility Grade = 75%
    Number of articles analyzed: 1,681

    Vox sets out to explain the news as much as recount it, leading to some of the most informative journalism around on topics.

    Highest scoring article: “How superspreading is fueling the pandemic — and how we can stop it
    Author: Katherine Harmon Courage – Credibility Grade: 90% – Date: October 3, 2020

To learn more about our Covid-19 dataset, read our main analysis.

Published by Phillip Meylan

Phillip is a writer, researcher, and editor. At The Factual, he leads research efforts that utilize the company's ever growing data on the media ecosystem. He is also a contributor to FP Analytics, Foreign Policy's research and advisory division, and an adjunct fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.