The professional project “Fact-Checking in Kazakhstan During the Pandemic: Analysis of Kazakh Media Professionalism” covered the Kazakh media market. The main purpose of the project was to identify key issues and challenges of Kazakh newsrooms in terms of verification and fact-checking of information during the pandemic period. The project included 17 journalists, editors, media managers, journalism scholars, and nonprofit media representatives.

The project was conducted in the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters at the School of Journalism at Michigan State University. Journalists, editors, and media representatives from almost all major media outlets in the largest cities and regional cities — Almaty, Nursultan, Shymkent; regions: Pavlodar, Zhambyl, Karagandy, Aktobe, Atyrau, South Kazakhstan, and West Kazakhstan — newsrooms participated in the project. The professional project was developed by Zholdas Orisbayev, a graduate journalism student and structured and edited by the project committee, which consisted of Eric Freedman, Howard Bossen, and Serena Miller, journalism professors at MSU.

Three stages of the project include:

- During the first stage, information was gathered regarding the key players of the Kazakh media market and its ownership and management, including TV, radio, print, and electronic news media outlets at national and regional levels of Kazakhstan.

- The second stage included an in-depth interviewing process with journalists, editors, and nonprofit media representatives. Besides that, information about Russia’s PR and propaganda efforts, specifically, targeting the Russian-speaking world, including Kazakhstan, was gathered to identify patterns of efforts that affected the population in Kazakhstan.

- The third stage was devoted to processing and the analysis of information and preparation of recommendations.

In the stage of collecting information, the author used open sources, databases of public and government authorities, and information provided by media outlets in Kazakhstan. All interviews were analyzed and used in the final project document, but several speakers preferred to stay anonymous. The core findings of the project were the possible solutions to existing structural, financial, and professional issues of Kazakh media newsrooms, and possible solutions and tips were provided to assist further development of the media sector.