The publishing platform Medium is getting a cash infusion from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for fact-checking political posts during the presidential elections.
The foundation said it would donate $140,000 so that it could help “educate and inform voters” in view of the fact that Medium allows users to post essays without fact-checking their claims. Presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio and others are among U.S. politicians using Medium as a publishing tool.
PolitiFact, a Web site developed by the Tampa Bay Times that began in 2007, will use its fact-checking muscle in order to “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.”
Using the funding, PolitiFact said it would post complete stories on Medium.com and Politifact.com highlighting its findings, as well as nonpartisan annotations or vetting of particular claims in question written by the candidates.
The work will be promoted through PolitiFact and partner social networks and made available to other journalism and nonpartisan organizations, including newspapers and TV stations nationwide, according to the Knight Foundation. PolitiFact will produce a summary of findings and a report outlining its process and lessons learned. Lucas Graves, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin, will also help PolitiFact develop and share research through the project, the foundation noted.
“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 Institute 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.”
The Knight Foundation, which said its endowment totals $2.4 billion, focuses on funding the arts, community and national initiatives, as well as journalism and media innovation.
Earlier this week, the foundation revealed plans to support Frontline in a partnership with Emblematic Group for a series of virtual-reality “experiences.”
The foundation’s support will amount to $580,000 for at least three virtual reality projects that examine the technical, ethical and procedural issues raised by the rapidly growing new platform.