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.