‘Providence Journal’ Joining PolitiFact.com Network

By: E&P Staff

The Providence Journal and its projo.com website this has launched a partnership with the St. Petersburg Times‘ PolitiFact.com, a Pulitzer Prize-winning 2-year-old initiative started by Times Washington bureau chief Bill Adair to sort out the truth in politics.

Journal Executive Editor Thomas E. Heslin informed readers Friday that his paper is joining the PolitiFact.com network, which includes the Miami Herald, Austin American-Statesman and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Journal has assigned three staffers to the initiative – Tim Murphy as editor and reporters C. Eugene Emery Jr., a veteran journalist, and Cynthia Needham, who has covered politics and business – who will also draw on other political and government beat writers’ expertise.

From debates and other events, news reports, press releases and candidate Web sites, team members will identify “dramatic and interesting proclamations in the arena of public policy” and then determine the truth of the selected statements.

Murphy will present stories and recommendations for one of six readings on the Truth-o-meter to a panel consisting of Deputy Executive Editor Karen Bordeleau, Metropolitan Managing Editor Susan Areson and Managing Editor for New Media Peter Phipps, or adesignated substitute, to review and possible re-examination.

Murphy told Heslin that one politician already changed a campaign statement, after PolitiFact Rhode Island questioned it. “I’m sure some politicians will object to rulings we make. Others have already suggested opponents’ statements to fact-check,” said Murphy. “Because our process is transparent – we lay out all the steps we take and include all our sources – I know politicians will consider us fair and balanced.”

Murphy says he thinks that readers, “overwhelmed with information every day from the media, …hunger for information they can trust. PolitiFact Rhode Island will satisfy that hunger with clear, well-reported, on-the-record fact-checking that makes a statement.”

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