A new organization of interest to copyeditors was born this week in London. Bill Adair of PolitiFact worked with the Poynter Institute for Media Studies to bring together fact-checkers from around the world to the Global Fact-Checking Summit. Before the summit ended on Tuesday, participants voted to continue their efforts in an association hosted by Poynter.
“The meeting showed there is a passionate community of fact-checkers that is growing around the world,” Adair said in an article on the Poynter website. “The association will keep the fact-checkers in touch with each other and help them learn from each other.”
Adair started PolitiFact in 2007 when he was Washington bureau chief for the the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times). He left the newspaper in April for a faculty position at Duke University.
PolitiFact followed a concept pioneered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s FactCheck.org. Organizers of the London conference counted 44 such organizations around the world, many in nations less hospitable to the concepts of a free press and the public’s right to know the truth. Only about half are operated by traditional news organizations.
The rise of fact-checking organizations in the past decade may indicate a greater interest in cutting through disinformation to get to the truth. As the last line of defense in published copy, Copyeditors are called on to be fact checkers, to serve readers by protecting writers from their own errors and biases. Poynter’s new association should prove beneficial by highlighting an important aspect of copyediting.