ProPublica announced Monday that it has hired reporter Craig Silverman to cover voting, platforms, disinformation and online manipulation. He starts on May 10.
Silverman comes to ProPublica from BuzzFeed News, where he held the title of media editor and produced a string of major investigative stories about misinformation, fake news and the unfettered power of social media networks. This year, he and Ryan Mac won the George Polk Award for business reporting for stories showing how Facebook was slow to remove extremist content, in addition to firing a whistleblower who determined that the company favored right-wing publishers while disregarding another who detailed how fake accounts were undermining the democratic process in India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and the U.S.
Silverman has long ranked among the pioneers of journalism on media distortion and its effect on politics. He was awarded a spot on the Politico 50 in 2017 for being a fake news watchdog, and he received the 2018 Carey McWilliams Award from the American Political Science Association, which honors “a major journalistic contribution to our understanding of politics.”
Before that, Craig founded Emergent.info, a rumor tracking project developed as part of a research fellowship with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. His research resulted in the publication of "Lies, Damn Lies, and Viral Content: How News Websites Spread (and Debunk) Online Rumors, Unverified Claims and Misinformation." From 2004 to 2015, Craig wrote Regret The Error, a blog about media accuracy and corrections, which became part of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and was the basis for an award-winning book of the same name. He is also the former managing editor of PBS MediaShift and edits the Verification Handbook series for the European Journalism Centre.
“Algorithms, social media and platforms play central roles in our democracy, and we’re thrilled to have Craig on our team to help us hold the giants of technology accountable — particularly when it comes to their role in spreading the disinformation and misinformation that affects elections,” ProPublica Managing Editor Robin Fields said. “Not only does he have a track record of landing revelatory stories about abuses of power, he has a deep understanding of how technology works, bringing more digital investigative skills and approaches to our newsroom.”
“I’ve admired ProPublica since the day it launched and am elated to join this fantastic newsroom,” Silverman said. “Our online information environment and digital economy are rife with abuse and manipulation that impacts the daily lives of people and societies around the world. I look forward to applying a wide range of digital and traditional investigative techniques to hold these powerful companies and institutions accountable.”