General Information

We’re excited to announce The Factual’s second annual scholarship program for media literacy is now live!

The Factual is a technology startup based in San Mateo, California that helps people find the most credible news across the political spectrum. The Factual’s daily email newsletter, app, and website deliver the most credible stories on trending news topics, with handy summaries to save people time. To determine credibility, The Factual uses an algorithm to automatically evaluate news articles based on author expertise, evidence cited, level of opinionatedness, and site reputation. We hope that this scholarship program will encourage readers to look critically at the information provided to them, reach their own conclusions, and become proponents of credible news.

Writing Prompt

"How did misinformation impact our lives in 2020? What steps can we take to ensure we get credible news?"

Essay Requirements

  • 750 - 1,000 words | Pictures can be included and do not impact word count
  • Essay must be written in English and represent the applicant's original work
  • The applicant must be willing for work to be published in The Factual’s daily newsletter
  • First page must include the author’s name, title of the submission, year in school, and contact email address

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a current student enrolled in a high school, undergraduate, or graduate institution
  • Each applicant can submit one entry for consideration (per year)
  • The applicant must sign up for our newsletter at and follow us on Instagram (thefactualnews) or Twitter (@thefactualnews), where we will be announcing the winner

Prize Information

  • First Place Prize: $500
    • Paid directly to the winning applicant
    • Winners and their schools will be recognized in our daily newsletter to thousands of readers
    • Essays will be published on our blog
    • Winner will receive The Factual merchandise (shirt, tote bag, sticker, mug)
  • Honorary mentions (2)
    • Honorary mentions will receive The Factual merchandise (shirt, tote bag, sticker, mug)
    • Honorary mentions and their schools will be recognized in our daily newsletter to thousands of readers
    • Essays will be published on our blog

How do I apply

To apply, please submit work at:

When is the deadline?

The deadline has been extended to June 15, 2021. Winners will be notified by July 1, 2021.

How will the essays be judged?

Each submission is read by at least two reviewers. Essays will be evaluated using the following criteria:

Addresses Prompt— The essay effectively and fully addresses the prompt throughout the entirety of the essay.

Focus— The thesis/main message is clear and supported throughout. The essay does not stray from the main message.

Organization & Structure— The essay is organized and well-structured. Author demonstrates command of grammar, spelling and mechanics. The essay has an insightful title and thesis.

Voice/Originality— The essay uses a highly engaging and personal style. The author finds fresh or interesting ways to convey ideas. The author approaches the topic from a unique perspective.

Evidence of Personal Reflection— The essay demonstrates that the author has genuinely explored the topic/question and how it relates to his or her own life.

Terms and Conditions

  1. No purchase necessary
  2. All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party. The Factual accepts no responsibility if entrants ignore these terms and conditions and entrants agree to indemnify The Factual against any claim by any third party from any breach of these terms and conditions.
  3. If you are under the age of 18 or are classed as a minor wherever you reside, you must obtain written parental or guardian consent to enter and to claim your prize. The Factual may ask the winner to provide proof of age and/or parental consent.
  4. Applicant agrees to receive newsletters from The Factual along with promotional material.
Questions or Concerns? Please email our contest manager, Kathryn Kelly : kkelly [at]

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Credibility grade based on author expertise, objective tone of writing, extent of references, and analysis of 2 million articles.