PolitiFact partners with ASU, expands footprint in heart of nation’s capital

The Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact will move its offices to Arizona State University’s location in the heart of Washington, D.C., in a unique collaboration that will expand training in fact-checking journalism, create a new website to fact-check Arizona politicians and grow Poynter’s teaching footprint in the nation’s capital.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning digital fact-checking organization has long been rating the accuracy and claims of elected officials from Washington offices on Connecticut Avenue. The new physical presence at ASU’s nearby location allows for greater visibility, plus access to the university’s cutting-edge technology, enhanced research, curriculum development, innovative teaching and event space.

“Our alliance with ASU and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is full of possibilities to elevate the craft, grow the next generation of journalists and bring these important brands together in service to democracy,” said Poynter President Neil Brown. “The public needs access to credible, factual information now more than ever. Together, we’ll leverage resources and expertise for journalists to best serve their communities.”

The idea for this partnership grew out of conversations this past spring between Poynter senior adviser and faculty member Joie Chen, a longtime Washington journalist, and Kristin Gilger, then interim dean of ASU’s Cronkite School.

“In my two decades as a journalist in Washington, I’ve been so impressed with the quality of Cronkite students I've seen reporting on the Hill, at the White House and around D.C.,” said Chen. “Through this partnership, we’ll have a chance to engage with them directly, and support their careers in journalism.”

PolitiFact will provide immersive training for Cronkite faculty and students to continue their education with basic fact-checking methodology. ASU students and fellows will be placed in internships with Poynter and its PolitiFact and MediaWise initiatives. They’ll also connect with seasoned journalists in career-accelerating programs such as workshops and panels.

The two organizations plan to launch a new course for students next year that will be co-taught by PolitiFact journalists and a Cronkite faculty member. A PolitiFact Arizona website also will be established, continuing the fact-checking operation’s long line of successful state-based partnerships with various local newsrooms and universities.

“The Cronkite School and Poynter are heavyweights in the journalism training arena, and this partnership presents tremendous opportunities for us to be impactful on a broad level,” said Battinto L. Batts Jr., dean of the Cronkite School. “We approach our mission with a desire to collaborate with like-minded organizations such as our friends at Poynter. I look forward to where we can go together. I believe this will be only the beginning.”

Establishing this new collaboration comes at a particularly exciting time for PolitiFact as Arizona is positioned to be a key battleground state in the country’s upcoming elections. PolitiFact affiliates are preparing to leverage their reporting power to fact-check the 2022 midterms.

“Working with Dr. Batts and the esteemed ASU journalism faculty — in a gorgeous space in Washington — will also lead to opportunities to bring Poynter’s superb professional development work to new clients and audiences,” Brown said.

With an increasing profile in Washington, the nonprofit Poynter Institute will enhance its efforts to protect the free press and invite journalists and citizens alike to join the cause. For more information, visit poynter.org.

Media contact: Tina Dyakon, director of marketing at the Poynter Institute, tdyakon@poynter.org, 727-553-4343.