John Kroll advises journalists to fact-check by asking the 5 W’s when we’re reporting on statistics that sources cite.
The truth is that many statistics cited in news stories are not fully vetted by journalists. Someone we regard as knowledgeable cites a figure and we parrot it.
But we should always ask the most important verification question: How do you know that? And too often, as John points out in asking the 5 W’s about a bogus but oft-cited stat about 100,000 Christians being killed for their faith every year, the answer is that the source doesn’t really know.
Truthfulness and verification are the core of good journalism. John gives some excellent advice for verifying numbers and getting closer to the truth.