Political fact checking may still be a journalism niche, but it’s growing — as evidenced by the Poynter Institute’s announcement today that it would launch an international fact-checking site.
One of the most exciting parts of the announcement is that the website will contain e-learning packages on fact-checking skills.
Political fact checking and the fact-checking work copy editors do on stories are cousins of each other — both are about verifying statements and data and making sure that readers get the truth. All copy editors are served well by having a cache of fact-checking skills.
Also, beyond political fact checking, there’s a lot of everyday fact-checking work that journalists could be doing. Every time the local city government deals in budget numbers, there’s an opportunity to put fact-checking skills to use.
Poynter’s initiative should be an excellent resource for those who want to broaden their fact-checking base. Here are some other resources:
American Press Institute Fact-Checking Journalism Project (API’s project has done some great research on fact checking.)
The American Copy Editors Society (ACES did a fact-checking training track at its 2015 conference and has the Become a rumor smashing superhero initiative.)
Poynter’s archives (this search will lead you to stories on verification)
How to Fact Check, from Africa Check
If you’re looking for a primer on fact-checking skills for any reporter or copy editor, read Tips on Verifying Facts and Ensuring Accuracy in Steve Buttry’s blog.
(And look back in this blog. I’ve recently done presentations on both digital verification and critical editing that dip into the waters of fact checking.)