Case Study
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Face the Facts USA


Face the Facts USA, The George Washington University

Face the Facts USA was an election-year online voter-engagement initiative of the School of Media & Public Affairs at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. Design for People lead strategist Tom Farmer served as executive director. Design for People president Erin Hunter led the design of information graphics. The editorial director was Sandy Johnson, former Associated Press Washington bureau chief and National Press Foundation president, and the team reported to Frank Sesno, SMPA director and former CNN correspondent.


With a political process that propagates confusing rhetoric, vicious trivia wars, and steadfast refusal to face facts it’s not surprising voters face confusion. The crazier it gets, the harder it is focus on what’s important – the biggest, toughest issues. The harder it is to separate the trash from the truth.

Project Approach and Results

In an effort to slice through the fog of “fake news” and provide the public with deeply verified, easily understood, provocative facts about public policy, the Face the Facts USA graduate student team developed content in collaboration with veteran journalists, editors, and fact-checkers. Content was pushed daily via social media channels offering infographics, videos, quizzes, and other engaging content.

In a few short months the team took an embryonic idea to national prominence, striking partner distribution deals with USA TODAY, Newsmax, and national radio programs and creating roundtable debates which aired on C-Span and RFD-TV. Well-known participants who lent their names to Face the Facts USA included Carly Fiorina, Sen. Fred Dalton Thompson, former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and journalist James Fallows.

Frank Sesno Ferreting out facts
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