PolitiFact gains nonprofit status with move to the Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute, a nonprofit school for journalists based in St. Petersburg, Fla., has acquired direct ownership of PolitiFact from the Tampa Bay Times, the organizations announced Monday.

The fact-checking website was created in 2007 by the Times newspaper. The Times is owned by Poynter.

The move will allow PolitiFact to function fully as a not-for-profit national news organization, putting it more squarely on footing with other nonprofit newsrooms like ProPublica and the Center for Public Integrity. Poynter already is home to the International Fact Checking Network, an organization that supports fact-checkers around the world.

The transition by PolitiFact also means that contributions to PolitiFact’s membership program, called the Truth Squad, will be tax deductible in 2018, as allowed by law. PolitiFact launched the Truth Squad in 2017, and the website reported raising more than $200,000 in donations in its first year.

PolitiFact’s eight journalists become employees of the Poynter Institute, and PolitiFact will retain its presence both in Washington, D.C, and in St. Petersburg. PolitiFact said it plans to hire an additional fact-checker to focus on claims made by pundits on television, radio or online, and a social media specialist to expand PolitiFact’s online footprint.

PolitiFact won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009 for its coverage of the 2008 election and its innovative Truth-O-Meter, which rates statements on a scale of True to Pants on Fire false. PolitiFact has more than a dozen partnerships with local newsrooms across the country, where local writers fact-check politicians and pundits under the PolitiFact flag.

Those partnerships will continue as part of the reorganization.

 

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