ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – Dec. 18, 2015 – PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning website that provides fact-checking resources for media coverage of government and election topics, will provide new context to political posts on the publishing platform Medium to help educate and inform voters. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is investing $140,000 to support the project.
“How PolitiFact will help fact-check the 2016 campaign” by Aaron Scharockman on Knight Blog, 12/18/2015
New publishing platforms and technologies offer politicians a way to deliver their messages directly to the public outside the traditional filter of journalism; this limits the ability to fact-check claims and ensure the public is provided with accurate information. In the 2016 presidential campaign, candidates Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio are among the U.S. politicians using Medium as a publishing tool. PolitiFact, a website of the Tampa Bay Times that began in 2007, can provide critical context to such posts to help educate voters.
“Typically, a candidate says something that ends up broadcast on TV or radio, or published in a print or online publication. Fact-checkers then analyze that claim and post their findings in a separate print or online space. With Medium, we can do one better,” said PolitiFact Executive Director Aaron Sharockman. “Medium’s platform offers PolitiFact a new and unique opportunity – to fact-check politicians in the same space where they make their claims.”
With Knight funding, PolitiFact journalists will fact-check and analyze claims made by the 2016 presidential candidates on Medium, and use the platform to showcase findings. PolitiFact will post complete stories on medium.com and politifact.com highlighting what it uncovers, as well as nonpartisan annotations or vetting of a particular claim.
The work will be promoted through PolitiFact and partner social networks and made available to other journalism and nonpartisan organizations, including newspapers and television stations across the country. PolitiFact will produce a summary of findings and a report outlining its process and lessons learned. In addition, Lucas Graves, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin will help PolitiFact develop and share research through the project.
“As Medium becomes more prominent in political discourse, we believe fact-checkers can play a crucial role to bring more accountability to political speech and improve conversations around elections,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “Through this project, PolitiFact will help fact-check politicians, from all political parties, in the same space where they make their claims and yield lessons for journalists and others looking to verify and ensure their coverage is accurate.”
“This project augers a new genre of fact-checking – holding politicians accountable for their words in the exact same place that they make their statements,” said Poynter President Tim Franklin. “This provides citizens with quick and easy access to fact-checked, verified information. Fact-checking is at the center of Poynter’s work to improve journalism and democracies around the globe.”
Support for PolitiFact is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to promote excellence in journalism by innovating with new ways to create, present and distribute news in the digital age. Knight has made many investments in this area, including the $5 million Knight Local Media Initiative, which has supported more than 50 organizations in developing innovations in media.
PolitiFact is an independent fact-checking journalism website aimed at bringing you the truth in politics. PolitiFact’s reporters and editors fact-check statements from the White House, Congress, candidates, advocacy groups and more, rating claims for accuracy on our Truth-O-Meter. PolitiFact is the largest fact-checking organization in America and has fact-checking partners currently in 14 states, working with newspaper, radio and television newsrooms to sort out fact from fiction. In 2013, it created PunditFact to fact-check claims made by pundits on television, radio, online and in print.
PolitiFact, a division of the Tampa Bay Times, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for its fact-checking of the presidential election. The Times, Florida’s largest newspaper, is independently owned by the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Fla.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more visit knightfoundation.org.
Aaron Sharockman, Executive Director, PolitiFact, 727-892-2273, [email protected]
Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]