Standards for Verifying, Fact-Checking, Copy Editing and Interviewing
An editor reviews every article to ensure it is grammatically, syntactically and, to the extent that they are able, factually correct. Reporters are required to keep detailed notes throughout their reporting process, and make them available for an editor to inspect.
Our staff members must take responsibility for the accuracy of all information that we publish, using an accuracy checklist before publication.
We do not publish rumors or other information we have not verified.
Reporters may read parts of stories to sources in order to check facts or make sure they understand technical points and procedures. But they should not read full stories to sources before publication and should make clear to the sources that they are only checking facts, not providing an opportunity to change the writing or approach to the story.
Reporters will follow best practices:
- 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..