Adjunct Instructor of Journalism & Public Policy

Co-director, Duke Reporters’ Lab



142 Sanford Building



In The News

  • “Know your pundit: What you don’t see in politics coverage on TV” Columbia Journalism Review, 1/30/2018. Article link.
  • “Mark Stencel, Duke Reporters’ Lab: Political fact-checking on the rise.” USA Today, 2/18/2016. Article link


Mark Stencel is co-director of the Reporters’ Lab at Duke University, where he teaches journalism and tracks the spread and impact of political fact-checking. He was previously managing editor for digital news at National Public Radio. He has been a senior editor and media executive at The Washington Post and at Congressional Quarterly Inc. (now CQ-Roll Call). At CQ, he wrote regular columns on science and technology policy for CQ Weekly and Governing magazine. Prior to that, he was a science and technology reporter for The News & Observer in North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham area.


Stencel’s introduction to fact-checking was working as The Washington Post’s political researcher during the 1992 U.S. elections, when he also was an assistant to syndicated Post columnist David S. Broder — an early advocate for news reporting on the accuracy of political ads. Stencel created a fact-checking feature called the “Debate Referee” for The Post’s PoliticsNow digital partnership in 1996 and then oversaw later versions for during the 2000 and 2004 presidential campaigns.


Stencel is the co-author of two books on politics and the media (including one with talk show host Larry King, then of CNN — long story) and is working on a third. He wrote a 2015 report for the American Press Institute on the political impact of fact-checking in the United States (, and co-authored studies on the news industry’s digital evolution for the Reporters’ Lab ( and CUNY’s Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism (


He is a former board chair of the Student Press Law Center and an advisory board member for the Center for Collaborative Journalism at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He was an informal advisor to PolitiFact during its launch in 2007 and later served on an advisory board member for its sister site, PunditFact in 2013 and 2014.


Stencel graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in Soviet studies — but that was the year before the Soviet Union ceased to exist, so his credentials as a media “futurist” should be considered with journalistic skepticism.

  • PJMS 374S, ETHICS 374S, PUBPOL 357S, POLSCI 374S Watchdog News and Storytelling: Changing Forms of Accountability Journalism (Fall 2023)