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Fact Checking for Independent Journalists Presented by Librarians of Radical Reference January 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "Fact Checking for Independent Journalists Presented by Librarians of Radical Reference January 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fact Checking for Independent Journalists Presented by Librarians of Radical Reference January 2005

2 2 fact checking 101 Someone other than the reporter filing the story verifies all factual material prior to publication so that: The work cant be dismissed as propaganda or rumor Legal risks associated with printing inaccuracies can be avoided An even more interesting story might be discovered Sources are kept happy Embarrassmentor worsecan be avoided Determine and highlight all facts in a story Go beyond spelling and dateslook for causal links, attributions, reporter assumptions, facts contained within quotes, and memories Evaluate sources used by the reporter Confirm everything, using multiple sources for controversial facts

3 3 before meeting with your fact-checker Organize sources used to write the story –Contact info for interviewees –Website addresses –Copies of documentation Highlight potential areas of concern

4 4 meeting with the fact-checker Discuss sources and potential areas of concern Identify which sources were used for which part of the story Keep copies of your documentation for yourself Quoteschecked or not? Remain available to your fact-checker

5 5 post-check Discuss the story a final time. The fact checker will be concerned with accuracy. Suggestions about reworking the story will relate solely to factual issues. Unless the editorial policy dictates otherwise, it's your name on the story, and your final call.

6 6 Critical thinking: evaluating different types of resources Books Serials –magazines (Newsweek, the Nation, World Press Review) –[scholarly] journals (Third World Journal, American Political Science Review) –trade publications (Library Journal, Pig International) –Newspapers (The New York Times, the Daily News) Websites –Advocacy (FAIR, Prison Activist Resource Center) –Business (Monsanto, The New York Times Company)MonsantoThe New York Times Company –News (IndyMedia, Fox News)IndyMediaFox News –Informational (American Heritage Dictionary, Critical Mass)American Heritage Dictionary –Personal (Makezine, Street Librarian) Databases –Subscription Commercial (Academic Universe, MasterFILE PremierUse NYPL for local access Premier Scholarly (PAIS International, Alternative Press Index) –Free(ish) Commercial (New York Times, the Guardian)New York Times Government (American Factfinder, Library of Congress American Memory)American Memory

7 7 evaluation criteria Authority (auspices) Accuracy Objectivity (perspective, bias) Currency (time, not money) Coverage (scope, mission) Much of the evaluation section was inspired by or taken directly from Evaluating Web Resources by Jan Alexander and Marsha Ann Tate which can be found at Library/webevaluation/webeval.htmJan Alexander Library/webevaluation/webeval.htm

8 8 nypl databases Commercial subscription databases are freely available and accessible from home to NYPL card holders and at branch and research libraries to anyone who walks in Access government and legal information, newspapers and magazine, statistical and business information, and alternative indexes

9 9 accessing the databases Arranged alphabetically, by subject, and by document type (e.g., full-text) Icons indicate from where databases can be accessed Check other area public libraries and their database collections: – – Ask a reference librarian

10 10 radical reference --Ask a reference question --Links to radical information sources --Search archive of questions fact_IMC.ppt, factchk.doc on Radical Reference site under files on the left of the page.

11 11 Integrating fact checking into your production schedule While investigatingpost research queries to Radical Reference, but try to give us enough time to come up with a quality response. Follow up, if necessary. Rout stories to fact checking or "research" during the editorial process. Arrange to have one or more librarians in- house or offsite, but dedicated to the project during production.

12 12 contact us this presentation on the web: Look for us in the streets during demonstrations. Well be wearing hats with the Radical Reference logo.

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