The process of fact Checking

The process of fact checking can either make or break as journalist. It’s essential to making sure every article published contains nothing but facts to its readers. Disgusting facts from rumor is a process then can sometimes take week or even a month. However, a good journalist knows that fact checking is the last step to creating a great article!

Samuel Hopkins wrote the biography of Woollcott called A. Woollcott: His life and His World. Sergeant Alexander Woollcott helped start the new soldiers’ paper called The Stars and Stripes. However, the paper was biased, but at this point in time this type of journalism was not seen so many people thought it was successful.  While many people might have enjoyed his articles. It was said that he tended to exaggerate his stories at times. This is how we meet Harold Ross. Ross was an itinerant reporter from Colorado who went on to be an unofficial managing editor. Ross over looked Woollcott work and yet still Woollcott embellished work seem to get through. This was surprising to know because in Hopkins book he quoted Ross Editorial skills as “His salient characteristic was a passion for facts. The slightest doubt on any point, however unimportant, roused him to marginal inquiry, often profane.” Nonetheless, Woollott career went on to be extremely successful.  He became the managing director of the New York Times and then became the dramatic critic for them as well in 1914. His daily column was an instant success that people looked forwarded to reading every day.

Now, one might argue how can someone who started off writing embellished work become so successful? Well, when The Stars and Stripes paper was created fat checking wasn’t held on such a pedestal as it is today. The fact checking movement is rather new beginning 25 years ago, to the early 1900’s. It began to gain more momentum in 2007 with the launch of the website PolitiFact. PolitiFact is one of the most recognizable of the political fact brands. There are also many nonprofit organizations that not only fact check political news but also nonpolitical views. However, as of 2015 according to the American Press Institute only 17% of those who work in journalism say their organization had a dedicated fact checking feature. Many journalists are unsure if their organization uses a fact checking feature at all.

The biggest problem that mot journalist can say they face is the flood of opinion and false information on the web.  While the internet is, everybody go to when finding information, not all the information you get is accurate. Someone can report something on the internet, then someone uses that for their research. Another person read about it, and then both believe it. But neither one of them know that the information they’re reading is incorrect. This is what journalist must deal with in the 21st century because everyone wants to upload information online. Therefore, it’s so essential to having fact checking because you never want to give your readers false information because they’re trusting that you’re giving them facts. If your readers can’t trust you, then nobody can.

For example, in journalism were learnt about Stephen Glass, one of the most sought after reporter for the New Republic. However, come to find out almost all of the articles that he wrote were fabricated and yet they were still published! What started off as adding a quote here and there, or exaggerating a few lines turned into whole articles that were completely fabricated. Then even after he was caught, people still attempted to make excuse about the fat that he wrote fabricated paper and claimed it all to be real. His notes consisted of non-existing people, made up locations, events, people, numbers and even emails. Anything you can think of, Glass did just to make sure his stories were always nothing less than the best. His readers fell in love with his stories, his coworkers were in love with his personality. Nobody thought Glass would be able of doing something like this. However, you would be surprise what Journalist would do to make sure they get the bet story possible. Therefore, when the editor decided to do a second fact check over his articles, and compared his notes. He started to notice something wasn’t adding up. When the fact checking, department couldn’t verify his notes or the information he was trying to publish, this is when they started to notice this guy was lying. Had the fact checkers really consider his work and really verified his information, they wouldn’t have had that problem.

Here’s why fact checking is so important. First, all facts should be confirmed by two reliable sources. You must make sure you source is trustworthy and be able to convivence your editor that your source is legitimate. Also, don’t rely on news wire, sometimes they could be wrong as well. Some media organizations simple copy and paste and don’t know if they’re giving their reader accurate information’s. Also, as a journalist you can’t trust everybody, even if it’s a reliable source. You always must still be skeptical with whatever information you are receiving. If its breaking news and there is actual evidence that it happened, you can use “according to “. This is the only time when you don’t really have to use the two-source rule.

As a journalist, your job is to deliver facts to your readers.  You should always make sure the information your reporting is accurate because your readers are trusting your facts. If you deliver incorrect information you are only confusing your readers. A real journalist always makes sure that they’re 100% accurate always.


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