PolitiFact, the Poynter Institute’s fact-checking website, has named Katie Sanders as its editor-in-chief.
Sanders, 35, has served as managing editor since 2018. She succeeds Angie Drobnic Holan, who in July was named director of the International Fact-Checking Network. Poynter Institute President Neil Brown made the announcement in a meeting with the PolitiFact staff Thursday morning.
“I know you share in the pleasure of seeing this thoughtful and distinguished journalist ascend to the top post at our Pulitzer-winning fact-checking site,” Brown wrote in a letter to the newsroom.
Sanders has held a variety of reporting and editing roles for PolitiFact since joining the fact-checking website in 2011. She becomes PolitiFact’s third-ever top editor, following Holan and founding editor Bill Adair, who is now the Knight Professor of the Practice of Journalism & Public Policy at Duke University.
“Our work is urgent and needed,” Sanders said. “When you come to work for PolitiFact, you are almost overcome by this sense of mission to help voters make sense of confusing issues in their lives. That’s what kept me here, and why I’m so excited to lead such a dedicated team of journalists.”
Sanders has spent 12 years with PolitiFact in a variety of reporting and editing roles. She previously reported on government and politics for the Tampa Bay Times. (Poynter acquired PolitiFact from the Times in 2018.)
“Her career is a classic story of working your way up in the (Poynter) family business,” Brown told the staff.
Sanders grew up in Madison, Florida, and graduated from the University of Florida, summa cum laude in journalism as part of a dual degree. She started as an intern at what was then called the St. Petersburg Times in 2010, was hired as an editorial assistant in the Times’ statehouse bureau in Tallahassee in 2011 and covered breaking news and politics at the home office.
When the Times launched PolitiFact Florida in 2012, Sanders became a fact-checker covering the Florida Legislature from the state Capitol in Tallahassee. When the paper launched PunditFact in 2013 to hold media figures accountable, Sanders joined it and helped build it.
At PolitiFact, Sanders collaborated on a host of projects, including a sweeping initiative to document 533 of former President Barack Obama’s campaign promises. In the past several years, Sanders has helped select, write and edit PolitiFact’s signature Lie of the Year.
Sanders has represented PolitiFact on television, radio and social platforms. She has traveled the country and the globe to train and speak on topics including political reporting, fact-checking methodology and online harassment of journalists. Next week, she’ll lead the third iteration of United Facts of America, PolitiFact and Poynter’s annual three-day fact-checking festival.
Beyond Poynter, Sanders is president of the Florida Society of News Editors.