Tagged: Fact Checking

Mind your businesses.

I don’t think it’s necessary for bloggers to disclose when they receive free products from a company, unless it is to recognize the company. A blogger would be given free products for a reason and the main one, I would think, would be to advertise the free product you are given on your website. Even if they don’t ask you to advertise them I feel like it’s almost something of common curtesy to mention that they received the product from a certain company and advertise this to their followers. But it’s not necessary, only if it was a condition in getting the product in the first place.

Blogging and journalism are two different things. A blog is more personal to you while journalism is more personal to the audience. Now this can be completely proven wrong if you have a hybrid sort of thing going on, like a journalism blog. But for my purposes I’m going to focus on a personal blog that includes your opinions and theories and journalism which get information out into the world. Sure in journalism you can add a bit of an opinion but you are very limited when you do so and anything you say has to be checked, fact checked, and checked over and over again. With a personal blog I don’t believe you have to be held accountable for fact-checking. You’re not hosting a professional newspaper or journal blog. It’s just your opinion and the way you want to give information out to your audience. If your fact is wrong, the worst thing someone can do is call you out. Again though this only pertains to a blog that is not based on journalism. It depends on the business of your blog.

Check the Facts

Have you ever really wondered how much effort and thought goes into checking a magazine or newspaper article? In this article, Peter Canby explains how a news paper company is run and how they deal with errors in the articles they have either published or are in the process of publishing them. First let’s start off with a clarification that “errors” in an article are not limited to grammar mistakes. Errors also cover the category of factually correct statements along with “The Talk of the Town,” and pretty much everything else that is included in the article. Everything gets double and triple checked. Canby goes on to tell the reader how things are run in the newspaper and magazine industry.

In the older days, more specifically when Canby first started working for The New Yorker, things used to progress in a linear pattern sort of way. The New Yorker was run by the editor, William Shawn. The writers would work on their articles for as long as they deemed necessary which would more than likely take a few years. After that these articles were edited and fact-checked for about two weeks or more, and then eventually published. Canby believes that it was this manner of publication that led The New Yorker to produce many successful and wonderful writings. I believe that he was absolutely correct in his hypothesis. It is to my belief that the reason these articles would have been more successful and wonderful than later articles was because the writers devoted themselves to the story. Unlike now where Canby explains that writers are treated more like servants where their assignments are already predetermined instead of choosing the topic themselves. In that Shawn era I believe that it was this process of choosing an article that made it more personal for the writer and thus made the article more interesting to read.

Canby goes more in depth to two specific stories he remembers during the Shawn-era New Yorker. The first being a story where the writer, Neil Sheehan, followed the life and story of John Paul Vann who was an army officer who readily talked to the press about military matters. The military eventually disgracefully discharged Vann to try and quiet his ill tempered remarks. However Vann used this to become third in command of the Vietnam War. Anyway Sheehan had been working with Vann on the book about him for roughly 16 year and he took his work to such a personal and devoted level that he made no mistakes in his work. When he would bring his finished article to the fact-checker they would come back to him with no changes in the entire piece. The second piece Canby recalls is like many others. It was a factual piece about a woman who was disinherited by her oldest brother when their parents died. Because it was a factual piece Shawn decided to put it on the back burner and there it stayed for the next twenty years.

When Shawn was replaced by Tina Brown as editor of The New Yorker the rate of production was altered. Brown had her writers working on articles that she determined herself in such a way that it would take only a week at most to get the story written and published. Fact checkers would work all night just to finish up their work so that the article could be published later that week.

Canby finishes his article with the methods in which checkers go about checking an article. First and foremost calling sources and going over the content of their quote without repeating the quote itself. This is because sources more often then not try to change the quote itself which is a huge hassle that can be easily avoided. Next writers were eventually asked to hand in their own personal notes about the topic at hand because when a fact checker is going through the article and hits a dead end, they can always refer back to the notes as a sort of safety net. Also eventually the note taking process became outdated as tape recorders were introduced. It seems to me that the fact-checker doesn’t get nearly enough credit as they deserve for their hard work on the final product of the article.

On a side note, I don’t know if this was done on purpose to be a funny joke but at the bottom of the article there is a correction to the article. Meaning that a fact-checker would have missed something and it had to be fixed after it was published.

Back Check For My Fact Check

In “Fact Checking at The New Yorker”, it discusses the importance and roles of fact checkers who basically spend their time going over published works to make sure the information, sources, times, and other things are correct. This idea of checking your work could be applied to blogging because like any other written work eras are bound to happen whether its misspelling a word or having a typo that changes the story just a little. The idea that people like this even exist was amazing to me because I did not know this was actually a job. I just thought news sources and journalist checked their own work and corrected it themselves if need be. But anyway, this concept of having someone else check your work could be very viable especially to bloggers because it allows to minor mistakes to be corrected and keeps the credibility of bloggers information trustworthy by readers. Because no reader wants to visit a site that gives information that is misleading or wrong due to something as minor as a wrong date. Therefore, fact checking could be essential the credibility of a blog and also could make it easier on readers to trust the information from blogs rather than solely rely on newspapers.