(Sara O'Brien)
International Fact-checking Network at Poynter

Fact-Checking Development Grant Program

Key Dates:

June 26, 2020
Applications close

August 20, 2020
Announce recipients

Recipients will have six months to develop their projects


The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) is dedicated to furthering innovation and establishing best practices in the field. Thanks to support from YouTube via the Google News Initiative, the IFCN has $1 million in grant funding available for established fact-checking units that are pursuing projects around video production, tools development, audience building, and new formats testing.

Fact-checking units can apply for up to $50,000 each.

All applicants will be first evaluated by their eligibility and then judged by an independent selection committee. In addition to grant funding, accepted applicants will get exposure at Global Fact 8 in June 2021.


Grants will be distributed based on proposals including, but not limited to, the activities below: 

  • Using video as a tool to disseminate accurate information
    • Publishing fact check videos for new and traditional media outlets
    • Running campaigns using video to increase media literacy among social media users
    • Launching webinar series to train reporters on fact-checking skills
  • Developing tools to support fact-checking workflows
    • Supporting automation tools such as chatbots, database building, crowdsourcing
  • Audience building for sustainability
    • Leveraging existing or building new programs for crowdfunding, membership, and fundraising efforts
  • New formats and mediums to expand the reach of fact-checking
    • Testing and implementing new formats to reach out to wider audiences and have a larger impact
    • Building collaborative efforts to tackle misinformation in national and regional scales

Ester Appelgren
Associate Professor
Södertörn University

About Ester

Ester Appelgren is an Associate Professor in Journalism and the Head of School of Natural Sciences, Environmental Studies and Technology at Södertörn University in Sweden. She has a PhD in Media Technology from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden. Her research interests focus on two main areas: Data journalism and digital integrity.  Ester has been an international assessor for the IFCN since 2017 and she was one of the founders of the Nordic Data Journalism conference (NODA. She has managed an an action research oriented project on Data journalism, funded by the Swedish Innovation Agency (Vinnova), with the aim to raise awareness and develop skills of data journalism in Sweden. She is also an alternate member of the board for FSMK (The Swedish Association for Media and Communication Research).

Michael Bolden
Managing Director for the JSK Journalism Fellowships
Stanford University

About Michael

Michael Bolden is managing director for the John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University. Previously, Bolden served as the first editorial director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, where he managed Knight’s content operations across its core communities and main investment areas, including journalism, the arts, cities, and technology innovation.

Bolden is a longtime member of the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Press Club, NLGJA-the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honorary. He serves on the board of directors of the SPJ Foundation, the 501(c)(3) charity that supports a free press and the educational mission of SPJ.

José Brito Cunha
Head of Futura Channel
Canal Futura

About José

José Brito is a Communication Project manager on digital platforms with a focus on education, social impact campaigns and the use of Technologies for learning. Marketing professional, journalist and master in Social Sciences. He started his career as a reporter at Globo Ecologia, a TV show about environmental affairs. He was a university professor of cinema and communication at ESPM, editor in chief of journalism. Member of Association of Educational Journalists and advisor to the LUPA Agency.

Naglaa Emary
Former BBC WS Cairo bureau Chief and Arab world Special projects Editor

About Naglaa

Naglaa Emary  is a former reporter, presenter and editor for the BBC World Service – Arabic Service based in London. In 2003, she was the Baghdad Bureau chief. With the political changes in the Region in 2011, she became the Cairo bureau chief and the Editor for the BBCWS special projects in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition of being  in charge of the coverage, Naglaa was leading the BBC projects supporting local media especially in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Iraq. Currently, Naglaa is a media consultant for a wide range of international organisations mainly UNESCO, Thomson Reuters Foundation and Deutsche Welle Akademie. She lectures at the British University in Egypt and the Jordan Media Institute in Amman.  Member of MILEN, Media and Information Literacy Experts Network, she works extensively on issues related to disinformation in different contexts. Naglaa holds a PhD degree in Media Studies from l’Universite de Paris III, Sorbonne Nouvelle in France.

Kanchan Kaur
Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media
Bangalore, India

About Kanchan

Kanchan Kaur is Dean, Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore, India. She has driven IIJNM’s emphasis on Multimedia. Besides teaching news gathering, reporting and writing skills, she gets students asking the important question: “So what?” She started life in journalism in the mid-80s by reporting the city of Bangalore for small publications before moving on to the mainstream newspapers in the country and abroad.

A stint at the University of Florida’s Institute on Teaching Digital Journalism revealed to her the unlimited possibilities of the web and she moved her loyalties, somewhat, from print to multimedia. She has focused on news literacy and fact-checking since 2015 and strongly believes that the blight of fake news must be countered, and quickly. She is constantly looking for new ways to make people think critically and be skeptical in the hope that they will curb the spread of false information.

Surabhi Malik
Program Director, India

About Surabhi

Surabhi Malik is a media trainer, a verification expert and a former journalist, currently working as the Program Director for India with Internews. In 2018, she launched and led the Google News Initiative India Training Network – a collaborative training effort that helped hundreds of journalists and journalism students in cities across India learn online verification and fact-checking skills and resulted in the launch of many dedicated fact-checking initiatives in the country. Her current focus is building a network of news and information literacy educators in India. As a Fellow with Google News Lab in 2016-2018, she held numerous workshops for journalists and newsrooms on data journalism, online verification and digital safety. She was previously the Deputy News Editor at NDTV and has also worked with the Times of India.

Pablo Ortellado
University of São Paulo

About Pablo

Pablo Ortellado is a Public Policy professor at the University of São Paulo. He is the head of the Public Policy for Information Access Research Group and is an Op-Ed columnist for Brazilian daily Folha de São Paulo.

Alan Soon
Co-Founder & CEO

About Alan

Alan is co-founder of Singapore-based Splice Media, which aims to drive the transformation of the media industry by supporting media startups across Asia. A career journalist for two decades, Alan has worked in radio, television, news wires, magazine, and online across Asia, giving him unique insight into how various newsrooms get things done—and where they get stuck. He started his career as a reporter and grew into other operational roles at Bloomberg, CNBC, Kyodo News, Star TV and Channel NewsAsia. He eventually led one of the largest digital news teams in the industry as Yahoo’s Managing Editor for India and Southeast Asia.

Mark Stencel
Co-Director of the Reporters’ Lab
Duke University

About Mark

Mark Stencel is co-director of the Reporters’ Lab at Duke University, where he teaches journalism and tracks the growth of political fact-checking. He also is a part of the Duke Tech & Check Cooperative, which develops tools that increase fact-checkers’ impact. 

He previously worked at National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, The Washington Post and North Carolina’s News & Observer. At the Post, he worked on early fact-checking experiments during four presidential campaigns starting in 1992.

Al Tompkins, Senior Faculty, Broadcast and Online

Al Tompkins
Senior Faculty
The Poynter Institute

About Al

Al Tompkins is one of America’s most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer, investigative reporter, head of special investigations and News Director, Tompkins joined the Poynter Institute where he is Senior Faculty for Broadcast and Online. He is the author of “Aim for the Heart” a textbook about multimedia storytelling that has been adopted by more than 100 universities worldwide. He has taught in 49 states, Canada, Egypt, Denmark, South Africa, Iceland and the Caymans.

Selection Criteria

The selection committee will review projects against the following criteria:

  • Does the applicant have the potential to reach out to wider audiences through this support?
  • Does the applicant demonstrate the capacity to deliver the project and carry out proposed activities?
  • Does the project promise a contribution to fight against misinformation by carrying out the proposed activities?
  • Does the project have the potential for sustainability for the applicant?
  • Is the requested budget in accordance with the goals and scope of the project and can it be fully completed and implemented in the allocated time frame?

A member of the selection committee and/or a member of the IFCN staff will be available to offer guidance and feedback during the six-month development process. If a proposed project somehow relates to any of the selection committee members or to their past or current work, those selection committee members will not participate in that specific evaluation.

Selection committee members don’t get paid for judging projects and/or for mentoring them.

Eligibility requirements

Fact-checking organizations that are verified signatories of the IFCN’s Code of Principles and/or organizations that have been regularly publishing non-partisan fact checks over the last three months are eligible to apply.

Applicants agree that if they are awarded a grant, the IFCN and YouTube may use data and information they provide in the initial application and subsequent reporting form with other fact-checking organizations.

Each applicant/organization may only submit one application and a budget of up to $50,000.

Terms and conditions

  • The recipients will have six months to develop and complete their projects.
  • Each grant recipient must provide IFCN with two short narrative reports and two financial reports: one of each at the midpoint of the project (about three months in) and one of each after the end of the 6-month project term.
  • The awarded amount will be delivered to the applicable grant recipient in two different payments: 50% at the beginning of the project term and the remaining 50% after the midterm narrative and financial reports are approved. (If your project requires a different distribution, please inform.)