Unsourced.org is an independent, not-for-profit website built and run by the Media Standards Trust in order to crowdsource original sources for poorly sourced news articles, and add warning to articles that are poorly sourced.
Why? Because so many newspaper articles are published with missing or vague references to their original sources. Without linking to sources, it’s much harder to assess the accuracy of an article. Or, as the doctor and writer Ben Goldacre put it: “If you don’t link to primary sources, you are dead to me”. The site focuses on science and medical articles at the moment. This is because, for the most part, there is published source material for science stories, but these are often not linked to. It’s also a neatly formal area, in that many science news stories stem from the publication of peer-reviewed paper in a Journal, which can be tracked down.
Eventually we plan to expand the set of tools to cover all sorts of things that might be sources for news stories – government reports, raw data, press releases, and so on…
We use the article search at journalisted.com to find articles which look like they might need sourcing. Since journalisted has a particular focus on the UK media, so does this site. However, you can manually enter any article you’d like.
Unsourced.org is a Media Standards Trust project. The site was devised and built by Ben Campbell, and developed with Martin Moore with design by Doublesided. Many thanks to Francis Irving, Michael Curran and Tom Scott.