The Week in Fact-Checking: The fact is, fact-checking can be better

In this newsletter, we like to highlight the best fact checks we’ve seen around the world. Frankly, we’d like to honor more of this work. But the bar is high. Do your fact checks — or the ones you read — have all the right ingredients? We offer nine steps to improvement. Read our recs on the American Press Institute website.

Quote of the week
“Yes, the fine print is often boring. Sometimes people would rather dance and holler than make sure all the details are strictly accurate. But without the details, there’s no truth, and without the truth, we’re sunk.” —Columnist Jacquielynn Floyd, Dallas Morning News

Fact-checking tall tales
A group of Indian mountain climbers took fact-checking into their own hands after hearing some suspicious stories from two fellow climbers. We can all learn something from their methods.

Fact-checking on video — a Poynter webinar
The fact-checking boom has mostly occurred online, yet well-produced TV fact checks can be both fun and impactful. If you would like an overview of the essential elements of a fact-checking video with examples from around the world, sign up for this webinar on July 13. Readers of this newsletter get 50 percent off by using the code 16IFCN50.

ABC Fact Check says “so long”
With its funding eliminated by new management, the ABC’s Fact Check unit aired its last segment on June 30. Host John Barron shares the lessons learned in three years of activity.

Why the boom in Latin American fact-checking?
Weak access to data and polarized media explain the region’s eager adoption of fact-checking initiatives, Chequeado’s Ivan Echt reports on

Fact-checking the United Nations’ staffing choices
The President of Gambia accused UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of removing all African officials from key UN roles. Africa Check’s French language service disputed that.

Restoring truthful politics post Brexit
More than 160,000 people signed a petition to UK party leaders to create an independent office that monitors political campaigns. The motivation? “In political campaigns it’s becoming hard to distinguish fact from fiction.”

Ad Watch is back
Keep an eye on USA Today’s “Ad Watch” columns, a popular feature in previous elections. Reporters scrutinize claims made in television campaign ads for elections around the country, along with information on how much the ad costs and who’s paying for it. Here’s the latest.

Fact-checking Hollywood16374517881_760253d412_z
How real is the Martha Stewart-type character in the new season of “Orange is the New Black”? If you don’t mind ruining the fantasy with the facts, read this.

Some fact-checking fun
Fact-checking might look better with a bottle of rosé and a Xanax, says The Daily Show’s “What the Actual Fact.” Watch it.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) A Mexican man’s photo keeps surfacing in media reports of terrorist attacks. Les Observateurs deconstructed the hoax. (2) Fact-checkers move in together in London. (3) Buzzfeed launches an international hoaxbusting beat. (4) Obama officially breaks his Afghanistan promise. (5) A Washington Post opinion writer fact-checks a fact check of some tricky crime data. What do you think? (6) The Associated Press and PolitiFact were among those who provided speedy fact-checking and some needed context after the FBI released its report on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail practices.  (7) Just over a week left to apply for Poynter’s international fact-checking fellowships. Don’t miss out!


  1. Sign up here for our weekly fact-checking newsletter.