Susan Benkelman

Susan is the Director of Accountability Journalism at API.

Susan joined API in November 2018 to lead its project to improve and expand accountability journalism. Before joining API, Susan worked for five years as a news editor in the Washington bureau of the Wall Street Journal. Previously she was the editorial director at CQ-Roll Call, holding the top newsroom job at the company formed by the merger of Roll Call and Congressional Quarterly, where she spent 15 years as an editor. Previously, Susan was been a reporter at Newsday in Washington, New York and Moscow, and before that was in the Washington and Lansing bureaus for the Detroit News. Originally from Michigan, she holds a degree in Journalism from Michigan State University.

Factually: Misinformation and claims of censorship

The major social media platforms aren’t always in lockstep on what content they moderate. But this week, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube were all on the same page in blocking a video of a group called “America’s Frontline Doctors” touting the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a cure for COVID-19, contrary to scientific evidence. One of the […]

Factually: About those Facebook labels

This week, Facebook attached “Get Voting Information” links to posts by both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden as part of its larger push to promote accurate election information on the platform. These additions come two months after Twitter attached a similar label to one of Trump’s tweets, which some at the time characterized as an attempt to fact-check the […]

Factually: The power of the pause

A couple weeks ago, the United Nations announced a new initiative called “Pause,” aimed at getting people to stop and think about what they’re sharing about COVID-19 on social media. The campaign is accompanied by the hashtag #takecarebeforeyoushare. It’s hard to know how effective such campaigns will be in stemming the spread of the worldwide “infodemic” of […]

Local newsrooms should talk about how to cover politicians who promote conspiracy theories like QAnon

Covering conspiracy theories and those who spread them has always been a tricky proposition for journalists. If you are in the business of trying to publish what’s true, how do you treat things that are untrue without amplifying them? When is the right time to write about them and what is the right way to […]

Factually: Fact-checking a moving target

Over the weekend, The New York Times reported on a debate between 239 medical doctors and the World Health Organization over whether aerosolized droplets spread COVID-19. The disagreement echoes an earlier debate in the medical community over whether the public should abstain from taking ibuprofen to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is a fast-moving story. Information is […]

Factually: Officials confront COVID-19 vaccine resistance

Last month, FactCheck.org debunked a meme, still floating around on Facebook, that had a couple of made-up quotes attributed to the U.S. government’s top infectious disease official. It was called “The two faces of Dr. Anthony Fauci.” The first quote falsely had him saying that “even though hundreds of doctors” have cured people with the drug hydroxychloroquine, […]

The primaries so far: Are states ready for November?

The 2020 primaries so far in states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have shown a lack of readiness for voting in a pandemic. Many states are, at the same time, implementing new rules or laws, meaning voters and elections officials were already dealing with change before the health crisis hit. Journalists, advocates and policymakers are all […]

Factually: Global Fact 7 Update

We’re halfway through (virtual) Global Fact 7, which was initially slated for three days this week in Oslo, Norway. But like all things, COVID-19 changed that. So the world’s fact-checkers are spending five days talking shop and talking about the future from wherever a stable internet connection can be found. This year’s conference features over 150 […]

Factually: Who should police online speech?

A new survey from the Knight Foundation and Gallup found that a majority of Americans (65%) want the internet to be a place of free expression. But eight in 10 people said they don’t trust big tech companies to make the right decisions about what content appears on their sites, and what should be removed. At the […]

Factually: A review of the evidence

What role does “the media” play in the spread of misinformation? A literature review published last month in the Annals of the International Communication Association tried to answer that question. Looking at previously published studies, the piece argues many “fake news sites” wouldn’t get much traction without the attention of more mainstream outlets. The authors define fake […]