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Fact-Checking

How to work with writers and editors, mark up copy, and track down information and sources

2. Highlights

Table of Contents

  1. Crib Sheet (PDF) PDF
    Download this outline and use it to take notes. Includes resources and other information.
  2. Highlights FREE!
  3. Fact-Checking (18:19) 18:19 FREE!
    1. Truth Warriors What fact-checkers do. A brief history of fact-checking in modern journalism. Credibility and the media. 2. Guidelines for Fact-Checking Different publications have different fact checking standards. Your job is to be super-nitpicky. Rough guidelines for fact-checking. Information a writer is asked to submit. 3. Sources and Experts How to make sure that the sources and experts used as backup are legitimate, or if they even exist. What to ask when you speak to a source, and how to verify quotes. When the Internet is an acceptable source. 4. Secondary Sources Magazines, newspapers, and TV news shows are secondary sources. Steer clear of them, but if you can't, here's how to use them. Rules for using studies. 5. Plagiarism Plagiarism: how to find it, and what to do if you do. 6. Working with Lawyers In addition to plagiarism, be on the lookout for other copyright violations, including incorrectly used trademarked names and libel. Why having a fact-checking manual is a bad idea. 7. Photos Make sure that all information in photo captions is correct. 8. Headlines, Subheads, and Pullquotes It's your job to make sure that the information condensed in a headline is factually correct. You can save many a fact simply by qualifying it with words like reportedly, allegedly, about, around, less than, more than, may be, could, and can. 9. Marking Up Copy A research editor should be able to go back to your working copy and see exactly how you checked each fact and why any changes were made. Here's how you do it and what marked-up copy looks like (the crib sheet has a sample). 10. The Publication Process Checking multiple versions, final signoff, sighs of relief.

Video Details

SYNOPSIS
Fact-checking facts:

  • Fact-checkers are the last line of defense before ethics scandals, lawsuits, and major motion pictures.
  • Fact-checking is a time-honored way to wedge your foot in the editorial door.
  • Fact-checking is a valuable freelance skill and an endless source of party trivia.

In this 18-minute video, you'll learn how to become a stellar fact-checker.

DURATION/TIME
1 video
18 minutes total running time

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