Openness & Accountability

A Study of Transparency in Global Media Outlets

A majority of the public believes the media can’t be trusted.
Which global news sites are most transparent about their operations? Not necessarily the ones you would think….

Shortly after the turn of the century, the Enron, Arthur Andersen and Scooter Libby scandals put the issue of corporate and government “transparency” in the forefront of the news. But how transparent were the media themselves? How candid were they about how they covered the news? How willing were the media to make their reporting and editing standards public?

In 2007, a study conducted by the International Center for Media & the Public Agenda (ICMPA) investigated the transparency of mainstream news outlets.  ICMPA found that many of those outlets were unwilling to let the public see how their editorial process works. Fewer than half of the websites publicly corrected mistakes in their stories and only a handful shared with readers the journalistic and ethical standards that theoretically guide their newsrooms… (Results are continued in Study Conclusions)

Here’s how the media outlets scored on transparency:
Bar Chart

Click on each media outlet above for further details.
Each of the news outlets above was individually coded in five categories of transparency: Corrections, Ownership, Staff Policies, Reporting Policies and Interactivity. See Measuring Transparency for a detailed explanation of each category and a chart showing the aggregate score of those categories.

For a narrative of the highlights of the study see Study Conclusions.