Scroll Top

Meet the “Mental Health Leadership for Fact-Checkers” Cohort Members

In this mega-election year with more than 60 countries hosting elections, multiple global conflicts and an onslaught of harrowing images on social media (both real and AI-generated), journalists and fact-checkers need mental health resources more than ever. As Naseem Miller said recently in a National Press Club panel we participated in, journalism is a trauma-facing profession, and few face trauma more directly than fact-checkers, who often must look directly at images of violence, abuse and misinformation in order to assess its accuracy. 
At The Self-Investigation, we have just launched Mental Health Leadership for Fact-Checkers, a pilot training and coaching program supported by the International Fact-Checking Network. With five trainings and four coaching calls over the course of 6 months, we’re supporting 14 fact-checking organizations in two cohorts (one in English and one in Spanish) on crucial topics like creating a culture of psychological safety in the team, the basics of mental health and burnout prevention and the importance of digital boundaries.
These are the 14 organisations that are part of the two cohorts: 
AFPAos Fatos
BOOM LiveBolivia Verifica
Estadao VerificaChequeado
FactcheckhubColombia Check
Lead StoriesFactchequeado
Logically FactsVerificat
We’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response online. We received dozens of applications, and as this is a pilot, we had to turn down many. But we’ve designed this for longevity — we’re developing a guide that we can make available to fact-checkers around the world, and with success, we hope to make this coaching and training program available as an ongoing and expansive program. 
Below, please meet our initial cohort of participants, and stay tuned to our blog and newsletter for more updates in the months to come about what we’re learning and discussing.

Meet the seven fact-checking leaders of the English-language cohort:

Jency Jacob
Jency Jacob (India)
Managing Editor of BOOM Live

Jency Jacob is the Managing Editor of BOOM and has worked with some of the top television and print networks in the country over the last two decades. Jency set up India’s first fact-checking newsroom in 2016 and now manages a team of 25 enterprising fact-checkers across India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, who are striving to keep our social media and public space clear of misinformation and communally sensitive disinformation that can result in real-life implications. Jency is also a regular speaker at various national and international conferences, speaking about the importance of battling misinformation and the media’s role in countering it with credible and factual news stories.

Opeyemi Kehinde
Opeyemi Kehinde (Nigeria)
Editor of FactCheckHub

Opeyemi Kehinde is a Nigerian fact-checker, Editor & Team Lead of the FactCheckHub, the verification platform of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR). He is also the national coordinator of the Nigerian Fact-checkers Coalition (NFC) and one of the leading disinformation experts in Africa.

In 2019, he was a fact-checker and part of the Investigation Team for CrossCheck Nigeria project – a collaboration of over 15 newsrooms that verified claims from all political stakeholders during Nigeria’s 2019 general elections.

A media trainer and youth advocate, Kehinde served as a fact-checking consultant for the Institute of War & Peace Reporting’s (IWPR) Africa Resilience Network between 2020 and 2021 where he authored investigative reports aimed at exposing and curbing COVID-19 misinformation and disinformation in Nigeria.

He joined the FactCheckHub in June 2020 as its Deputy Editor and Amplification Team Lead and was appointed its Editor on February 1, 2022.

With a journalistic experience spanning about two decades, Kehinde was also an African Investigative Journalist (AIJC2020) Fellow in 2020.

Lorena Martínez
Lorena Martínez (United Kingdom)
Head of Editorial Operations in Europe at Logically Facts

Lorena joined Logically Facts after spending over six years at X, formerly Twitter, and a decade in the news media and editorial space. She is the Head of Editorial Operations in Europe at Logically Facts. Lorena leads a global and international team of 15 people across Europe that works to reduce the individual, institutional, and societal damage caused by misleading and deceptive online discourse through fact-checking efforts.

In her previous role, she led cross-functional projects to counter misinformation online. She also helped drive X’s global Misinformation Partnerships Program with fact-checking organizations to expand efforts to identify and elevate credible information in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. Her editorial and operational work have been instrumental in ensuring that global audiences can access credible and authoritative information. Before joining X, Lorena worked as a correspondent covering breaking news and major events in the U.K. for media outlets in Spain, Germany, and Latin America.

eric litke
Eric Litke (United States)
Senior Editor/Fact Check at USA Today

Eric leads USA TODAY’s Fact-Check Team, overseeing 9 reporters and 3 editors who identify and combat misinformation. The team primarily addresses the most viral and significant claims spreading on social media, but they work in a variety of formats to fill information vacuums and elevate truthful content wherever possible. This includes live fact-checking of major political events, feature stories on misinformation trends, a fact-check video series and Spanish-language misinformation monitoring and fact-checking. Subject matter varies based on the news and reactions to it, but recurring topics include politics/elections, health, immigration, international conflict and climate change. Eric previously worked as a fact-check reporter for PolitiFact Wisconsin, a data reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and an investigative reporter for USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in data science. Eric lives in Wisconsin with his wife and four children.

Alessandra Monnerat
Alessandra Monnerat (Brasil)
Assistant Editor of Estadão Verifica

Alessandra Monnerat is the Assistant Editor of Estadão Verifica, the fact-checking unit of the Brazilian newspaper Estadão. She has worked at Estadão since 2018. Previously, she was a reporter at the Rio de Janeiro newspaper O Dia and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. In 2021, she took part in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

Sophie Nicholson
Sophie Nicholson (France)
Deputy Editor in Chief, Digital Investigation at AFP

Sophie Nicholson is Deputy Editor in Chief, Digital Investigation at global news agency AFP in Paris. Sophie oversees AFP’s award-winning fact-checking team, working closely with tech companies, media organisations, and researchers. She is the head of the project for AFP’s Digital Courses online training platform and Online Investigation Tips video playlists.

Sophie previously worked as a foreign correspondent, reporting from more than 15 countries and based in Mexico City and Paris. She started her career in radio and television at the BBC in London.

Blanka Zöldi_photo
Blanka Zöldi (Hungary)
Editor-in-Chief at Lakmusz

Blanka Zöldi, a journalist for over ten years, is the Editor-in-Chief of Lakmusz, the first dedicated fact-checking website in Hungary, launched in January 2022. Lakmusz is part of Hungary’s anti-disinformation hub (LAKMUSZ-HDMO, co-financed by the European Union). Collaborating closely with popular news website, Lakmusz has reached over 3 million readers in its first two years of operations, and has become a verified member of IFCN and EFCSN.

Blanka started her career in 2013 as a political and business reporter with the Hungarian daily news website Origo and spent two years in Brussels as a foreign correspondent. Before launching Lakmusz, she worked for five years as an investigative reporter and editor with Direkt36 nonprofit investigative journalism center, covering political corruption and misuse of power. She participated in various cross-border collaborations, including projects of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

Additional participants from the selected fact-checking organisations:

  • Kritika Goel – Logically Facts (India)
  • Rosemary Igebka – Factcheckhub (Nigeria)
  • Szilvi Német – Lakmusz (Hungary)
  • Karen Rebelo – BOOM Live (India)
  • Bradley Sylvester – USA Today (United States)
  • Katarina Subasic – AFP (Serbia)

Here are the names of the seven selected leaders of the Spanish-language cohort:

  • Tamoa Calzadilla – Factchequeado (US)
  • Patricia Cusicanqui Hanssen – Bolivia Verifica (Bolivia)
  • Fernanda da Escóssia – Aos Fatos (Brazil)
  • Matías Di Santi – Chequeado (Argentina)
  • José Felipe Sarmiento Abella – Colombia Check (Colombia)
  • Alba Tobella – Verificat (Spain)
  • Karla Torres – (Venezuela)

Get to know more about them here.

Recent Posts
Clear Filters