PolitiFact Does Print

As newspapers gear up for the 2012 campaign season, they’ll be looking for ways to provide political content that they can no longer produce in-house. Shrinking newsroom budgets have forced the layoffs of many staffers, and more and more papers are turning to third-party content to fill their (also shrinking) news holes.

Enter the PolitiFact news service. The popular site, which is part of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, will now license its content to newspapers. The news was announced on Monday.

The news service was launch at the request of newspaper editors around the country, according to a press release. It will surely find a place in many papers that can’t afford to have someone like The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler on staff.

PolitiFact has been a major online journalism success story in recent years—it won a Pulitzer Prize—and now folks who enjoy dead tree editions will enjoy this wonderful Web-first content.

Monday’s announcement is notable for just that reason. It demonstrates that newspapers are willing to pay for syndicated content that’s available for free on the Web beforehand. Oftentimes traditional syndication agreements for columns and editorial cartoons grant subscribers access to the content in time to run that content on the same day as the paper that originates it. That way, everyone can run a column at the same time.

The PolitiFact news service seems more like a licensing agreement. It will grant unlimited usage rights for papers to use content that first appears on that website. And at the end of the day, more Americans—particularly those who do not use the Internet—will be able to see the great journalism that comes from PolitiFact.

It’s an exciting new chapter for the ever-expanding PolitiFact franchise.