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St. Petersburg, Fla, July 24, 2015: The Poynter Institute will become the international home of fact-checking organizations with the awarding of up to $225,000 in grant support from Omidyar Network and $75,000 in funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
With the backing of Omidyar Network and NED, Poynter will launch a new website that highlights the best practices and impact of fact checkers around the globe. An international community of fact checkers will be based at Poynter and Poynter News University will create new e-learning about fact-checking skills. The website and the fact-checking group will be led by a new hire the institute will make soon.
As it has for the past two years, Poynter will organize an annual Global Fact-Checking Summit in 2016 and 2017. The second annual conference, being held this week at the City University of London, has attracted about 75 participants from around the world.
In addition to Omidyar Network and NED, the summit was made possible with generous support from the Duke University Reporter’s Lab, Google and the Ford Foundation.
“We’re thrilled that Omidyar Network, NED and our other project funders have entrusted Poynter to advance the important work of the international community of fact checkers,” said Poynter president Tim Franklin. “Creating the new site, e- learning, organizing the world’s fact checkers and convening the annual summit will help grow the international fact checking movement and empower the citizens in those countries.”
Omidyar Network’s grant comes through the philanthropic investment firm’s Government Transparency initiative, which works to build stronger and more open societies by increasing government responsiveness and citizen participation.
“An open and responsive society requires independent media to provide accurate and unbiased information so that citizens may hold their leaders to account,” said Stacy Donohue, investment partner, Omidyar Network. “The Poynter Institute is a global leader in journalist education, and it is uniquely positioned to foster a global community focused on advancing fact-checking best practices. We see their work as a vital contribution to the integrity and impact of independent journalism.”
The latest tally by the Duke Reporters’ Lab shows the number of fact-checking organizations has grown by 45 percent in the past year, and now includes 64 groups on six continents.
As fact-checking has grown around the world, fact-checkers have developed a need for more information and training, said Bill Adair, the creator of PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking site of the Tampa Bay Times.
“Poynter is an ideal organization to fill that role because of its experience with e-learning and conferences,” said Adair, who is now the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and will be an adviser on the project.
Last year, when Poynter gathered fact checkers from six continents and 21 countries in London for the first global fact-checking summit, the group agreed on a unanimous recommendation: Poynter should create a global fact-checking organization to support fact-checking and its impact in democratic societies.
“The support network built through the Poynter Institute’s global initiative has proved to be extremely valuable for the dozen or so fact-checking organizations that NED supports around the world,” said Ivana Cvetkovic Bajrovic, senior program officer, Europe, National Endowment for Democracy. “The annual fact-checking summit provides a unique platform for learning and an exchange of fresh ideas. As well, it offers a sense of community and solidarity to those operating under difficult circumstances. Developing new learning resources will help to sustain this important accountability work in societies still struggling to establish democratic norms.”
The website is set for launch in early 2016. It will include links to training and other resources to help fact-checkers and to build community among those who do this work.
About The Poynter Institute The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., and at conferences and organizational sites around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, www.newsu.org, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum in 7 languages, with more than 400 interactive courses and 330,000 registered users in more than 200 countries. The Institute’s website, www.poynter.org, produces 24-hour coverage of news about media, ethics, technology, the business of news and the trends that currently define and redefine journalism news reporting. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcast producers, and to build public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and protected discourse that serves democracy and the public good.