PolitiFact Florida wins Green Eyeshade Award for online politics reporting

The Green Eyeshade award winners for 2012 have been announced.
The Green Eyeshade award winners for 2012 have been announced.

PolitiFact Florida, the state politics fact-checking website of the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald, has won a first-place Green Eyeshade Awards in the category of online political reporting.

The contest, sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists and now in its 63rd year, recognizes the best journalism in the southeastern United States. 

PolitiFact Florida won for its fact-checking reports of the 2012 U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and Connie Mack and its fact-checking of Florida's state government. The political reporting category recognizes "outstanding reportage on the art and craft of politics, including elections and important local, state and national issues."

Among the winning reports:

• "Fact-checking Rick Scott on the health care law." PolitiFact Florida examined a number of Gov. Rick Scott's statements on the Affordable Care Act and found several misstatements, including the erroneous claim that a business with 20 employees would be required to offer health insurance.

• "Fact-checking Florida's U.S. Senate Debate." After Nelson and Mack debated for the first and only time in the general election, PolitiFact Florida fact-checked each candidate's claims.

• "A real photo of Trayvon Martin? Chain email makes false claim." An anonymous chain email circulated purporting to show a real photo of Trayvon Martin. PolitiFact Florida documented that the photo was actually of a professional rapper, Game.

• "Rick Scott brags about Florida's declining unemployment rate." In September 2012, PolitiFact Florida found that Florida's unemployment rate was declining because people were dropping out of the workforce, not because a significant number of new jobs were being created. 

• "Allen West says about 80 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party." Then-U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., made a charge that House Democrats were members of the Communist Party, noting later that he believed that to be the actual case. PolitiFact Florida looked at the facts of the matter and found the claim to be incorrect.

The national PolitiFact site also won a first place Green Eyeshade award in the category of public service in online journalism for its fact-checks of the 2012 U.S. presidential race.