Tegna is expanding its Verify truth-in-reporting platform and has named Jonathan Forsythe to serve as the initiative’s managing editor, the company said Monday.
Tegna created Verify in 2015 to fight misinformation, helping viewers distinguish between true and false information with clearly sourced reporting. Traffic to Verify content on Tegna-owned station websites increased 423% in 2020, according to Tegna’s Google Analytics.
Tegna’s Verify reporting team chases down stories or claims, sometimes with help from viewer-submitted questions, and reports out the answers, providing transparent information to prove or disprove the information.
This year, Tegna plans to grow Verify into a standalone national brand via the launch of dedicated digital products. In 2020, Tegna launched a Verify channel on Snapchat, and it plans to expand the franchise to other non-Tegna-owned platforms this year. Meanwhile, Tegna’s local TV stations also will broaden their locally produced Verify content.
Forsythe has been named managing editor of Verify to help lead these efforts. In his new role, Forsythe will oversee daily content production, including TV segments, articles, social content and other products. He also will recruit and manage Verify’s team of journalists, producers and audience-engagement specialists as well as working with Tegna’s stations to source story ideas and co-produce content.
“Jonathan’s demonstrated passion for innovative storytelling and fighting disinformation, along with his deep journalism and leadership experience, make him a natural fit to lead the expansion of our Verify brand,” said Adam Ostrow, chief digital officer, Tegna, in a statement. “The Verify team believes journalists, in addition to seeking truth, must also stop the spread of disinformation, and we look forward to continuing to reach new audiences with our trusted, valuable content in 2021 and beyond.”
Forsythe joins Tegna from McClatchy, where he was senior director of video and audio, leading the video and audio strategy for McClatchy’s 30 newsrooms. He helped launch McClatchy Studios, a multiplatform initiative to reach new audiences with local, character-driven documentary storytelling with national appeal. Prior to McClatchy, Forsythe spent 14 years at The Washington Post, including four years as deputy editor, video.
Forsythe holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. He and his wife Kelly live in Frederick, Maryland with their two sons.