Verification and Fact-Checking
Our staff members must take responsibility for the accuracy of all information that we publish, using an accuracy checklist before publication.
Our staff members should take reasonable steps to ensure the accuracy of information that we publish and note our sources.
We should not publish rumors or other information we have not verified.
If we are unsure of the accuracy of information, we should cite our sources, word stories carefully to avoid spreading false rumors, acknowledge what we don’t know and ask the community’s help in confirming or correcting our information.
Reporters should fact-check before publication but should not preview any of the actual text of a story with sources.
- When interviewing sources, ask them to spell names (even a common name) and spell the name back to the source or show how you’ve written it down in your notebook.
- Ask for business cards from sources. Check to see that the name is spelled the same as you have in your notes.
- Look people and organizations up online as you are writing and researching stories. Call, email or otherwise message to resolve any conflicts between the facts you see online and what you have in your notes.
- Call phone numbers and check URLs that you include in stories to make sure they are accurate and current.
- Ask sources, “How do you know that?” and try to get to original sources of information, rather than relying on second-hand sources.
- Record interviews to ensure accurate quotations.
- When sources are providing statistics, ask for the original data (which might provide more information, as well as ensuring the accuracy of the statistics).
- Check your math (and your sources’ math).
- Check headlines, graphics, cutlines and other material accompanying a story.
- Provide proper context for all accurate information included in a story.