- How Science Works
- Sources and Experts: Where to Find Them and How to Vet Them
- Making Sense of Science Stats
- Editing for Story
- Editing Controversial Science
- Holding Science to Account
- Covering Health Care
- Climate and the Environment
- Fact-Checking Science Journalism: How to Make Sure Your Stories Are True
Illustrating Complex Science Stories
- The Role of Visuals in Science Journalism
- The Process of Building Science-Centric Graphics
- Strategies for Using Visuals to Put Breaking Science in Context
- Special Considerations for Data Visualization
- Uncertainty and Misinformation
- Editorial Illustration, Photography, and Moving Images
- Additional Reading and Resources
- About the Author
- Social Media and Reader Engagement
- Popular Science
- Op-Eds and Essays
- About This Handbook
By Brooke Borel / < 1
For an editor, there’s hardly anything worse than spending weeks or months on a story — sifting through freelance pitches for a gem or thinking up an idea and assigning it to just the right journalist, shaping the narrative, reading draft after draft until the words start to blur, pushing for clarity, getting that last round of clean text into layout, finally publishing — and then facing a big, fat correction.
How can editors make sure all that beautiful copy is correct before a piece goes live?
Answer: fact-check it.
Fact-checking is more than checking facts: It’s also about checking assumptions. Whether you’re examining your own work or someone else’s, the hardest part is identifying and interrogating the implicit ideas that tie a story together.Katie Palmer, science and health editor, Quartz
Fact-checking is a key element to any editorial team. The process may look a little different from one news outlet to the next, but the basics are always the same. It requires a step in the editorial process in which someone looks at a story line-by-line and asks Where did we get this information? How do we know it is true? Then that person goes back to the source, whether it’s a scientific paper or an interview recording, and double-checks. The fact-checker also casts a gimlet eye on that source, asking: Is this a good source? Can we do better?
Here you will learn how fact-checking functions at various news outlets; how to incorporate fact-checking in your team’s editorial process; how to adapt the process to the limits of time and resources, and more. And yes, we fact-checked it.