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Examining PunditFact and Its Role in Journalism: A Poynter Broadcast

About This Course

PunditFact is the fact-checking unit of the Tampa Bay Times, which published more than 350 fact-checks of pundits in 2014, from newspaper columnists to television commentators.

Here's an in-depth look at the impact of PunditFact's work and how the fact-checking of pundits can improve, expand and further help ensure an informed electorate.

The broadcast was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 10 for an understanding of the role of PunditFact in journalism.

The Poynter Institute senior faculty member Al Tompkins led the discussion, along with Aaron Sharockman, editor of PunditFact.

Featured panelists included Donna Brazile, political strategist and contributor to CNN and ABC News, Kathleen Parker of The Washington Post, Jackie Kucinich of the Daily Beast. They shared their perspectives as columnists or commentators and how fact-checkers have influenced their work.

Twitter: #PunditFactImpact

This $50 Broadcast is free thanks to the support of Democracy Fund and the Ford Foundation.

Who Should Take this Course?

Anyone who is interested in journalism and democracy.

Course Instructor

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins

Al Tompkins is Senior Faculty/Broadcast and Online at The Poynter Institute. He is the author of Aim for the Heart: A Guide for TV Producers and Reporters, which is being used by more than 130 universities' journalism departments around the world., and the Poynter NewsU course Reporting, Writing for TV and the Web: Aim for the Heart. He is also the author of Telling Memorable Video Stories, a video tutorial series at Poynter's NewsU. You can join the more than 10,000 people who follow him on Twitter at @atompkins.

Tompkins has more than 40 years of experience as a journalist, writer and journalism teacher who teaches in seminars at Poynter and workshops and conferences around. He has been a presenter at national conventions for IRE, RTDNA, NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, Unity, NLGJA, PRNDI and NPPA. Since 1998, he has taught seminars and workshops in 48 states and four countries.

He joined Poynter in 1998 after 25 years as a journalist, including serving as a reporter, investigative reporter, director of special projects and investigations and then was appointed news director, WSMV Nashville. Under his direction, WSMV was Nashville's leading news station. His hour-long documentary, “Saving Stefani,” was featured as a special Dateline NBC and was awarded the 1999 Clarion Award.

During his two and a half decades as a journalist, Tompkins has won The National Emmy, The Peabody Award (group award), the Japan Prize, The American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel for Court Reporting, seven National Headliner Awards, three Gabriel Awards, two Iris Awards, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for international reporting and the Governor's Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

From 1999-2006, Tompkins and Bob Steele co-authored four editions of the Radio Television Digital News Association's Newsroom Ethics workbook and tape series, which was presented in workshops in 26 U.S. cities.

Training Partners

Democracy Fund

Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund aspires to the highest ideals of the American republic — government of, by, and for the people. We invest in organizations working to ensure that our political system is responsive to the priorities of the American public and has the capacity to meet the greatest challenges facing our country.

Nonpartisanship is a cornerstone of the Democracy Fund's work.

We believe that creating a vibrant, healthy political system is in the interest of all Americans and that finding achievable solutions to the complex problems facing our democracy will require voices, expertise, and ideas from across the political spectrum. Our board, staff, advisors, and grantees include Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

A catalyst for change, the Democracy Fund supports risk-taking ideas and strategies that shift the incentives driving political behavior. We value evidence-based learning both in developing and reflecting on our work. As a collaborative organization, we endeavor to be transparent and to build the capacity to provide our partners with a broad range of resources to support our shared goals. Our approach is further distinguished by our commitment to work across the aisle to find common ground on issues of national concern.

The Democracy Fund was created in 2011 by eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar as an initiative of Omidyar Network. In 2014, the Democracy Fund became an independent private foundation.

Ford Foundation

Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is on the front lines of social change around the world, working with visionary leaders and organizations to change social structures and institutions — so that everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential and have a voice in decisions that affect them.

Established in 1936, with gifts and bequests by Edsel and Henry Ford, the foundation is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, with its own board, and is entirely separate from the Ford Motor Company.

National Press Club Journalism Institute

The National Press Club Journalism Institute is the non-profit affiliate of the National Press Club. Its mission is to train communications professionals in a changing media environment, provide scholarships to the next generation of journalists, recognize excellence in journalism and globally promote a free press, the cornerstone of a free society.

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