Politifact mulls New Zealand expansion and diversification

Peter FrayPolitical fact-checking website Politifact Australia is considering diversification into non-political areas at the same time as eyeing other territories in the wake of the September Federal election.

Peter Fray, editor-in-chief of Politifact, has told Encore that he is looking at other verticals where the fact-checking service can be applied or may alternatively look to set up a New Zealand offshoot of the Australian operation. Fray told Encore: “We have another three state elections next year and an election in New Zealand. We have the licence for New Zealand and I would be interested in seeing if we could get across the ditch.”

The original Politifact is a US project from The Tampa Bay Times. Fray – a former publisher and editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald who took redundancy from Fairfax Media last year – launched the site in May.

Another option would be for Politifact to move into other areas of fact-checking such as health or nutrition. “The other question is, could you put some other word in front of fact like ‘healthfact’ or ‘foodfact’? That is certainly where my thinking is,” he said.

Fray said that Politifact is currently delivering 100,000 unique browsers per month. It has also formed paid partnerships with Channel Seven and Fairfax Media which both used its research as part of their election coverage. Fray said: “We would be open to other media partnerships that didn’t cross any of our existing partnerships.”

While Fray said he could not comment on the ongoing relationships with Seven and Fairfax as they are still being assessed following the election, he did say he was pleased with the coverage generated for both sides.

“We’ve had an incredibly positive experience with Channel Seven and ideally we’d love for that to continue. And we’ve really enjoyed working with Fairfax. We have every confidence that we can attract investors interested in a new lean, credible and targeted media business,” he said.

Politifact finds itself in the same fact-checking landscape as The Conversation’s Election FactCheck and also the ABC’s new fact checking unit. Fray claimed: “We have certainly established the brand as the fact-checking brand against any of the others. I’m sure about that.”

Fray’s most pressing issue post election is ensuring the organisation has a sustainable business model.

“With a lot of these sort of start ups, in this sort of space, you need a variety of revenues. For us the media partnerships have been important and while there is the potential for advertising but as we all know the CPMs are very low,” he said.

“The capacity is really there for us to engage, in a fuller way, our readers.”

Nic Christensen


Encore Issue 30This first appeared in the weekly edition of Encore available for iPad and Android tablets. Visit for a preview of the app or click below to download.


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