Fact-checking at the AP
Getting the facts right has been core to AP’s mission since our founding in 1846. When a public figure says something questionable, it is our job to investigate it and offer the facts. You’ll find some of those stories here.
In addition, when a false story gains traction online, we create a separate fact-checking item that tells the true story. This is where you’ll find those stories and our weekly roundup of untrue headlines that have been shared widely on social media.
As with all AP staff, AP fact checkers must adhere to the company’s Statement of News Values, which states: “AP employees must avoid behavior or activities - political, social or financial - that create a conflict of interest or compromise our ability to report the news fairly and accurately, uninfluenced by any person or action.”
Learn more from AP’s Statement of News Values and Principles.
AP Fact Check has for years been a member of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), a unit of the Poynter Institute dedicated to bringing together fact-checkers worldwide.
AP FACT CHECK TEAM:
The AP Fact Check team includes the staffers listed below. However, fact-checking is deeply integrated into our whole global operation and we rely on the expertise of our journalists on a wide variety of topics to inform our fact-checking work. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see two bylines, or contributor lines, on a fact check. In addition, any staffer may choose to do a fact check in text or visuals with reporting help and guidance from the Fact Check team.
The operation’s leadership team consists of Barbara Whitaker and Ruth Brown, who are in charge of the overall direction of AP’s fact-checking work and make key decisions about coverage.
BARBARA WHITAKER is the news editor for AP Verification, managing a team of reporters and editors that knocks down false news circulating online. She is based in New York. During her 30 years in journalism, she’s worked nationally and internationally for publications including The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday and The Dallas Morning News. Whitaker also taught a lifestyle journalism class while editing for the AP on contract in Warsaw, Poland.
RUTH BROWN is the weekend news editor for AP Verification. She is based in New York City, and has previously worked as an editor at the New York Post, Brooklyn Paper and Willamette Week in Portland, Ore. Brown originally hails from Melbourne, Australia, where she worked at Crikey, a political email newsletter that has nothing to do with Steve Irwin. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in politics from La Trobe University in Melbourne.
BEATRICE DUPUY is a fact check reporter based in New York City. She has worked for Teen Vogue, Newsweek and The Star Tribune in Minneapolis. At the Star Tribune, Dupuy reported on county government and education. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism with a minor in French from the University of Florida.
ARIJETA LAJKA is a New York-based fact check reporter specializing in online misinformation, disinformation and verification in video. She has a background in international reporting, producing and filming documentaries for BBC News and CBS. Lajka has also covered trending news for VICE News, and previously reported for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Kosovo. She holds a BA in literature and politics from Wagner College in and an MS in journalism from Columbia University, both in New York City.
ALI SWENSON is a fact check reporter based in New York. She has worked as a reporter and editor for the Phoenix New Times and Los Angeles Times, and as a podcast producer for the Center for Public Integrity and other freelance clients. Swenson previously covered breaking news for the AP in New York City, where she investigated accusations against the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Loyola Marymount University and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
ANGELO FICHERA is a fact check reporter based in Philadelphia. He has worked as a reporter for FactCheck.org, Courier-Post in New Jersey and The Philadelphia Inquirer. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University.
KARENA PHAN is a reporter based in Los Angeles. She has worked for TIME Magazine and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. She focused on reporting and explaining complex news topics at TIME For Kids, TIME magazine’s news edition for young readers. There, she reported on the environment, education, and the arts. She received a B.A. in Literary Journalism with a minor in Digital information systems at the University of California, Irvine.
MARCOS MARTINEZ CHACON is a news verification reporter based in Monterrey, Mexico. He has collaborated with national and international media outlets such as the BBC, Univision Noticias, The San Francisco Chronicle, Grupo Reforma, and Aristegui Noticias. At the BBC, he worked from the Miami bureau as a digital journalist for BBC Monitoring, a BBC News division, where he focused on Latin America and collaborated in the production of podcasts around the spread of fake news in Mexico and other countries for BBC Trending. He holds a master’s degree from UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he collaborated in several projects at the Investigative Reporting Program.
Marcos Martínez Chacón es un periodista de verificación en la Ciudad de México. Ha colaborado con medios nacionales e internacionales como la BBC, Univision Noticias, The San Francisco Chronicle, Grupo Reforma y Aristegui Noticias. En la BBC, desde la oficina de Miami, se desempeñó como periodista digital para BBC Monitoring, una división de BBC News, donde se enfocó en latinoamérica. También colaboró en la producción de podcasts sobre la diseminación de noticias falsas en México y otros países para BBC Trending. Obtuvo una maestría de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad de California en Berkeley. En UC Berkeley, colaboró en diversos proyectos en el Programa de Periodismo de Investigación.
ABRIL MULATO is a fact check editor based in Mexico City. With 12 years of experience in media, she has worked as a reporter, photographer and editor in national and international media outlets such as Reforma, El País, NBC Telemundo, Vanity Fair and GQ. She has also worked with several digital Communications agencies such as Clarus Digital, Zimat Consultores and The conversationalist agency, coordinating and executing social media and content strategies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Journalism School Carlos Septién García.
ABRIL MULATO es editora de verificación en la Ciudad de México. A lo largo de 12 años ha trabajado como fotógrafa, reportera y editora en medios nacionales e internacionales como Reforma, El país, NBC Telemundo, Vanity Fair y GQ. También ha colaborado con diversas agencias de comunicación digital como Clarus Digital, Zimat Consultores y The conversationalist agency coordinando y ejecutando estrategias de redes sociales y contenido. Es licenciada en periodismo por la Escuela de Periodismo Carlos Septién García.
BARBARA ORTUTAY is a technology reporter based in San Francisco, California and previously, New York City. She focuses on misinformation, and social media and Big Tech, and how the two intersect and touch every part of life. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA in political science, with a minor in LGBT studies, and a MS in journalism from Columbia University. She grew up in Budapest, Hungary.
AMANDA SEITZ is a fact check reporter based in Chicago who has focused on investigative reporting and government and political coverage. Her work has taken her from Wausau, Wisconsin, where Seitz spent a night in minus-8-degree weather documenting the city’s homeless population, to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she interviewed hundreds of voters ahead of the 2016 election in one of the country’s most crucial swing states.
DAVID KLEPPER is an election misinformation reporter based in Providence, Rhode Island. He worked for newspapers in South Carolina and Kansas City before joining the AP in 2011. A native of the Chicago suburbs, he earned degrees from the University of Illinois and the University of Missouri School of Journalism.
CAL WOODWARD has been fact-checking public figures for more than 20 years under an AP initiative that took form in the 1996 election, advanced in 2000 and became a key component of our accountability journalism through that decade. A national writer, editor and essayist, he has been writing and coordinating Washington-based fact checks as his primary work since before the 2012 election. In this time, AP’s effort has greatly expanded beyond campaign and top presidential rhetoric to include statements from all manner of public figures. In the lead-up to the Iraq war, Woodward’s fact checks stood as a rare voice calling attention to the unverified rationales for the invasion. In the 2008 campaign, he worked with our health policy reporter to inform voters that Barack Obama’s proposed health overhaul did not substantiate his claims that people would see lower premiums and maintain the right to choose their own doctors. Woodward came to AP from The Canadian Press, where he covered U.S. politics, the United Nations, culture and sports from New York and Washington, after serving as a regional news editor and reporter in Canada.
HOPE YEN is a national reporter based in Washington, D.C. She regularly contributes fact check stories in tandem with senior writer and editor Calvin Woodward. In her 15 years in Washington, she has reported on the Supreme Court, demographics, veterans affairs and politics. Her methodical count of the Democratic delegates in the 2016 presidential election was cited by Politico as “one of the 16 stories that changed the 2016 race,” confirming before every other news outlet that Hillary Clinton would win her party’s nomination. Yen previously covered business and the courts for the AP in New York City, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa.
We produce fact checks when we are presented with a claim from a newsmaker – in any format – that deserves further explanation or scrutiny. The AP Fact Check team, along with our experts in the field, investigates and reports out that claim to present the facts around it. These claims can come from newsmakers from any news department, and they are fact-checked by our AP experts, with oversight, guidance and reporting help from the AP Fact Check team.
The AP Fact Check team also produces items that debunk misleading or false information and visuals that are gaining significant traction online. This includes collaborative projects with Facebook and Twitter to add factual context to misleading posts on their platforms.
The fact-checking team follows the AP correction policy.
COMMENTS/SUGGESTIONS/CLAIMS TO SUBMIT
Want to reach out with a comment or fact-checking suggestion? Do you see something that needs a correction? Email us at FactCheck@ap.org.
ABOUT THE AP
The AP is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative composed of newspapers and broadcasters. The vast majority of AP’s revenue comes from licensing content to news outlets and other organizations. The AP Fact Check team is funded by AP’s general news budget and has previously received funding from the Knight Foundation.
Read more about the AP.