The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking

Author:
Brooke Borel
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Category:
Journalism

This book appeared in Advance Copy, a column in which NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here. Publication of NASW members’ reports in Advance Copy does not indicate NASW’s endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments, and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions. To join the discussion or submit your book, visit Advance Copy.

“A column by Glenn Garvin on Dec. 20 stated that the National Science Foundation ‘funded a study on Jell-O wrestling at the South Pole.’ That is incorrect. The event took place during off-duty hours without NSF permission and did not involve taxpayer funds.”

Corrections such as this one from the Miami Herald have become a familiar sight for readers, especially as news cycles demand faster and faster publication. While some factual errors can be humorous, they nonetheless erode the credibility of the writer and the organization. And the pressure for accuracy and accountability is increasing at the same time as in-house resources for fact-checking are dwindling. Anyone who needs or wants to learn how to verify names, numbers, quotations, and facts is largely on their own.

Enter The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking, an accessible, one-stop guide to the why, what, and how of contemporary fact-checking. Brooke Borel, an experienced fact-checker, draws on the expertise of more than 200 writers, editors, and fellow checkers representing the New Yorker, Popular Science, This American Life, Vogue, and many other outlets. She covers best practices for fact-checking in a variety of media — from magazine articles, both print and online, to books and documentaries — and from the perspective of both in-house and freelance checkers. She also offers advice on navigating relationships with writers, editors, and sources; considers the realities of fact-checking on a budget and checking one’s own work; and reflects on the place of fact-checking in today’s media landscape.

“If journalism is a cornerstone of democracy, then fact-checking is its building inspector,” Borel writes. The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking is the practical — and thoroughly vetted — guide that writers, editors, and publishers need to maintain their credibility and solidify their readers’ trust.