IFCN chooses two fellows: one to study a fact check’s circle of life and the other to dive into an innovative membership model

August 23, 2019

In its fourth iteration, the International Fact-Checking Network’s (IFCN) Fellowship Program will support research led by two women — one from Kenya and one from the United States.

With a grant of $2,500, Soila Kenya from Pesa Check will depart from Nairobi to London in the upcoming weeks to spend some time with Full Fact’s fact-checking team. Josie Hollingsworth, who works as an audience engagement editor for PolitiFact, will leave her office in Florida and head to Madrid. She will be embedded in Maldita’s team.

Kenya and Hollingsworth were selected among 12 applications received by the IFCN. Kenya wants to study the life of a fact check, analyzing every step of is existence, from pitch until the time it reaches virality social media. Her goal is to identify five new ways to improve the post-publication process and take that back Pesa Check.

“I was very surprised when I saw the email that I’d made it through, but I think this is a great opportunity for me as a fact-checker. To be able to benchmark with FullFact will be a huge career boost. It’ll be a great opportunity for us to learn from each other.”

Hollingsworth said she looks forward to taking a deep dive into Maldita’s membership program and learning how fact-checking supporters can become active advocates for truthful information.

“I love Maldita’s idea of getting donors important tips and tricks so they can be advocates for truthful information,” Hollingsworth said. “At PolitiFact, I want to build a dynamic and powerful member base that is outspoken in combating misinfo daily in their online and in-person communities, and learning from Maldita’s strategies will be fundamental in doing that.”

Both of them will write about their experiences to share with the fact-checking community.

‘’The international community has gained a lot from previous fellowships, and the IFCN can’t wait to hear from the fellows and their hosting organizations about the projects they will develop this year’’ said Baybars Orsek, the director of the network.

The fellowships were organized by IFCN for the first time in 2016. The awarded grant covers the fellows’ travel and hosting expenses. This year, the host organization will receive $300, too.

Eight fact-checkers have been selected as IFCN fellows so far. They researched automation, televised fact-checking, elections, audience impact and more. These fellows have come from Chequeado in Argentina, Agência Lupa in Brazil, Teyit in Turkey, Istinomer in Serbia, PolitiFact in the United States and The Whistle in Israel.