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Posts Tagged ‘accuracy’

We knew we were risking schedule conflicts when Craig Silverman agreed to present a workshop on accuracy and verification for the TBD Community Network while he was in Washington for the Online News Association. Nearly everyone had something else to do (many of them at ONA). (more…)

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Craig Silverman of Regret the Error is leading a workshop for TBD Community Network members (and staff and anyone else in the Washington area who’s interested) this evening at American University’s School of Communication. As supplemental reading for those attending the workshop, I’m posting this handout updated I developed for my Accuracy First workshop when I was presenting ethics seminars for the American Press Institute (updated somewhat). The original version of this handout was initially posted on the No Train, No Gain website.

While this handout is geared to journalists, we encourage all members of the network to follow these practices and those Craig teaches, regardless of whether they consider themselves journalists. Anyone providing information to the public should seek to ensure accuracy to maintain credibility.

In pursuit of excellence, journalists seek to develop lots of sophisticated skills, such as investigative reporting, narrative writing, social media and video. Accuracy isn’t as glamorous as those skills but without accuracy, they become worthless. Accuracy is the foundation upon which journalists must build all other skills. Ensuring accuracy involves several steps: (more…)

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Thanks to Anthony Capps, entertainment editor at the Iowa State Daily, who found an eight-year-old training handout that apparently I never posted online. It was for a 2001 workshop I did for interns at the Omaha World-Herald on horrible mistakes and the lessons from them.

I asked colleagues at the World-Herald and elsewhere to share their stories, which they did quite eagerly. I sorted them by lessons learned. This was the forerunner to my workshops on accuracy for editors and reporters, for which the handouts are already online at No Train, No Gain (along with most of my other training handouts).

Anthony was kind enough to send me a pdf of the handout, which I have cut and pasted (with a little editing to fix mistakes that snuck past me then or to make it more appropriate for today). I promised confidentiality, so that I wouldn’t need to verify the third-person stories and so that people would feel free sharing the embarrassing first-person stories. A few people gave me permission to use their names in 2001. I have removed their names now, rather than track them down now and ask if it’s still OK to name them.

The stories and lessons are more print-centric than they would be if I were to collect stories today. But I think they still contain some valuable lessons for journalists: (more…)

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Journalists pride ourselves in being accurate and on being current with the latest news. So let’s update our inaccurate views of Wikipedia.

A 10,000 Words post by Mark S. Luckie today offers lots of good advice for reporters on pleasing their editors, including this piece:

Fact-check your stories. Any editor worth their salt will inevitably ask where certain information came from. Be ready for this with explicit answers and a list of your sources. And for the love of all things holy, don’t say Wikipedia.

I heartily endorse the advice to fact-check stories, and I agree that Wikipedia alone is not a sufficient source. But it’s way past time for journalists (and academics, for that matter) to get beyond our arrogant dismissal of Wikipedia and include it in our box of imperfect tools for verifying facts. In fact, if Wikipedia has an entry on a topic you’re writing about, it would be an excellent first place for a journalist to start checking facts. (more…)

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Accuracy has always been right at the top of the list of journalism values and priorities.

Except when I saw friends lose their jobs (and sometimes, had to deliver that news myself) or had to write about horrible tragedies, the sickest feelings I have had in this business were when I got my facts wrong. It didn’t happen often, but each time, I brutalized myself with second-guessing and figured out how to prevent it from happening again (and committed to ensure it wouldn’t happen again).

I don’t know how accuracy gets more important than that, but it has actually grown in importance. The public has more potential sources of information than ever today. Almost any path you can imagine for media companies to find our way to a prosperous future starts with being a trusted source for information. (more…)

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