Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network hires new director and associate director

February 15, 2019

Founding director Alexios Mantzarlis leaves after establishing the IFCN as the leading advocate for the fact-checking community worldwide.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2019) – The Poynter Institute, a global nonprofit dedicated to excellence in journalism, proudly welcomes Baybars Örsek, the director of Turkish fact-checking site Doğruluk Payı, and Cristina Tardáguila, the director of Brazilian fact-checking wire Agência Lupa, to the leadership team of its International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

After more than three years as the founding director of IFCN, Alexios Mantzarlis’ last day is Friday. Örsek will assume the role of director immediately. Tardáguila will begin in the newly created role of associate director this spring.

“Alexios’s energy and vision have established the IFCN at Poynter as the leading voice for fact-checkers, and a standard-bearer for best practices,” Poynter president Neil Brown wrote to the fact-checking community on Tuesday announcing the transition of leadership. “Baybars’s skill as a fact-checking leader and imaginative director in the nonprofit space, mixed with Cris’s energy as a writer and entrepreneur, create a powerful combination in leading the IFCN’s battle against misinformation worldwide.”

As the chairman of Turkey’s leading media non-profit Izlemedeyiz, Örsek founded Turkey’s first and only political fact-checking project Doğruluk Payı in 2014 and Turkey’s open data platform Veri Kaynagi. Doğruluk Payı continues to this day, checking facts and exposing misinformation in an environment where the laws are unkind to a free press and circumstances are often unsafe for journalists.

In addition to being an expert in fact-checking and open dissemination of data, Örsek excels at convening and managing fact-checkers. As an IFCN advisory board member, he played an active role in the process of overseeing the network’s Code of Principles. Örsek also planned an international fact-checking conference in Turkey last year — skills that will translate to organizing the annual Global Fact conference as director.

“Baybars and Cris have both been running fact-checking projects in difficult media ecosystems and have done so by doubling down on the public service element of this form of journalism,” said outgoing IFCN director Mantzarlis. “They will bring new energy and ideas to the IFCN, and I am so excited to see what they’ll accomplish.”

Tardáguila spent five years as a reporter and editor with O Globo, Rio de Janeiro’s leading daily newspaper. While there, she launched Preto no Branco, the first fact-checking blog ever developed by a newspaper in Brazil.

In 2015, Tardáguila founded the first newswire service in Brazil to produce fact-checking content for other media outlets, called Agência Lupa. Tardáguila also leads LupaEducação — a program focused on teaching verification techniques; since 2017, LupaEducação has had over 4,000 students in Brazil, Spain and Portugal. Considered one of Brazil’s top media entrepreneurs, Tardáguila will bring her start-up mentality and fact-checking experience to the IFCN as its first associate director.

Örsek and Tardáguila will take over the IFCN at an important part of its upward trajectory. Since its founding in 2015, the IFCN has grown remarkably:

  • Fall 2015 — Poynter founded the International Fact-Checking Network to research, teach, convene and fund the growing number of fact-checkers around the world. This came at the request of fact-checkers at the second global fact-checking summit Poynter organized that summer in London.
  • June 2016 — The IFCN established its Code of Principles after the third Global Fact conference in Buenos Aires. It now has 67 signatories.
  • Nov. 2016 — After publishing an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the IFCN pioneered fact-checking relationships with major platforms, including Facebook and Google.
  • Dec. 2016 — The IFCN created an advisory board of prominent fact-checkers, including Glenn Kessler from The Washington Post’s Fact Checker and Politifact executive editor Angie Holan.
  • April 2017 — To promote basic fact-checking skills and public awareness, the IFCN declared April 2 annual International Fact-Checking Day.
  • Sept. 2017 — The IFCN team expanded, hiring a program manager and full-time reporter dedicated to tracking fact-checking projects and misinformation.
  • March 2018— The IFCN launched a continuously updated guide keeping track of actions taken by governments to combat misinformation around the world.
  • April 2018 — The IFCN’s code of principles is recognized as a best practice in standard setting in the European Commission’s communication on “Tackling online disinformation: a European Approach.”
  • May 2018 — CheckNews received the first Fact Forward Innovation Fund, one of many grants and fellowships supported by the IFCN.
  • June 2018 — The IFCN hosted Global Fact V in Rome with 225 participants from 55 countries.
  • Jan. 2019 — The IFCN helped launch a legal support initiative for fact-checkers.

Poynter built on this strong fact-checking foundation by acquiring PolitiFact, the largest fact-checking news organization in the United States, and creating MediaWise, a groundbreaking digital literacy program for teenagers, in 2018. Poynter’s efforts to advocate for transparency and accountability also laid the groundwork for the recent grant from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to establish the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership.

Together, these initiatives solidify Poynter as the international headquarters for accountability journalism. With an expanded leadership team at IFCN, Poynter will continue to vigorously support the flow of accurate, transparent and honest information.

About The Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website, poynter.org, produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology and the business of news. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a teen digital information literacy project. The world’s top journalists and media innovators come to Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcasters. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org

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