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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 nonpartisan news sources for Covid-19 coverage.
Some things to remember:
- These scores are not like percentage grades — they reflect our 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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FactCheck.org – Median Credibility Grade: 90%
Number of articles analyzed: 84
FactCheck.org is one of the preeminent fact-checking websites and lives up to that reputation by routinely topping The Factual’s lists of most credible sources.
Highest scoring article: “Trump Baselessly Alleges COVID-19 Vaccine Announcement Was Delayed”
Author: Jessica McDonald – Credibility Grade: 98% – Date: November 11, 2020
The Scientist – Median Credibility Grade = 89.5%
Number of articles analyzed: 78
The Scientist focuses on the life sciences, “covering a wide range of topics central to the study of cell and molecular biology, genetics, and other life-science fields.”
Highest scoring article: “Some COVID-19 Patients Lack Key Structures for Antibody Creation”
Author: Katarina Zimmer – Credibility Grade: 98% – Date: August 25, 2020
The New Scientist – Median Credibility Grade = 88%
Number of articles analyzed: 93
The New Scientist is a London-based magazine specializing in science and technology.
Highest scoring article: “Is Sweden’s coronavirus strategy a cautionary tale or a success story?”
Author: Michael Le Page – Credibility Grade: 96% – Date: August 13, 2020
Undark – Median Credibility Grade = 87%
Number of articles analyzed: 113
Undark explores science “as a frequently wondrous, sometimes contentious, and occasionally troubling byproduct of human culture.”
Highest scoring article: “Airlines Tout Covid-19 Safety Measures. Is Flying Actually Safe?”
Author: Victoria Knight – Credibility Grade: 90% – Date: November 24, 2020
Smithsonian – Median Credibility Grade = 87%
Number of articles analyzed: 141
Smithsonian Magazine, the publication of the eponymous institution, covers all things “science, history, art, popular culture and innovation.”
Highest scoring article: “Carbon Emissions Are Decreasing During the Pandemic but Could Bounce Back Fast”
Author: Alex Fox – Credibility Grade: 99% – Date: May 22, 2020
Poynter – Median Credibility Grade = 82%
Number of articles analyzed: 144
Poynter is a school of journalism and a research organization that has used its platform to debunk Covid-19 myths and explore how the disease has impacted journalism.
Highest scoring article: “Under presidential pressure, FDA gives ‘emergency approval’ for COVID-19 plasma treatment”
Author: Al Tompkins – Credibility Grade: 97% – Date: August 24, 2020
MIT Technology Review – Median Credibility Grade = 81%
Number of articles analyzed: 145
MIT Technology Review leverages incisive journalism to make “technology a greater force for good.”
Highest scoring article: “Some scientists are taking a DIY coronavirus vaccine, and nobody knows if it’s legal or if it works”
Author: Antonio Regalado – Credibility Grade: 97% – Date: July 29, 2020
Ars Technica – Median Credibility Grade = 81%
Number of articles analyzed: 134
Ars Technica is emblematic of tech-focused outlets that have become key providers of essential journalism at a time when scientifically savvy and perceptive stories are arguably more important than ever.
Highest scoring article: “NIH abruptly cuts coronavirus research funding, alarming scientists”
Author: Beth Mole – Credibility Grade: 91% – Date: May 1, 2020
Live Science – Median Credibility Grade = 80%
Number of articles analyzed: 143
Live Science seeks to break down the world around us for “the science geek in everyone.”
Highest scoring article: “Sweden’s lax COVID-19 response caused too many deaths, country’s top epidemiologist says”
Author: Nicoletta Lanese – Credibility Grade: 90% – Date: June 5, 2020
National Geographic – Median Credibility Grade = 79%
Number of articles analyzed: 154
National Geographic is a long-running staple of American journalism, covering science, culture, geography, and history.
Highest scoring article: “A ‘herd mentality’ can’t stop the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither can a weak vaccine.”
Author: Nsikan Apkan – Credibility Grade: 92% – Date: October 2, 2020
To learn more about our Covid-19 dataset, read our main analysis.