Developing and using fact checking skills is a good idea for copy editors of all sorts — not just copy editors working on hard news.
If accuracy and clarity are at the top of the editing triage list, then fact checking is a skill you need for treating the patient.
I recently did an interview with Howard Rauch of the American Society of Business Publication Editors about the importance of skeptical editing and fact checking training. The story, “Time for in-house fact-checking course definitely has arrived, says ACES’ Berendzen,” notes that in the digital age, the need for fact checking is heightened because information — and misinformation — spreads so much more quickly and it is difficult to get corrections to all of the far-reaching tentacles of that article.
The ASBPE serves the business, trade and specialty press, particularly B-2-B editors. The organization’s Ethics News Update newsletter for January 2015 is all about fact checking. One good article is an interview with Jane Elizabeth of the American Press Institute’s fact checking initiative about steps to set up a fact checking process.
In his column, Howard Rauch wrote: “The ‘elephant in the room’ is that little formal fact-checking is done any more beyond reporters going over their copy, and the editor doing a better job of questioning things that don’t make sense. Finances don’t allow ‘real’ fact-checking.”
That doesn’t have to be true. And it’s good to see organizations and publications beyond those that cover the presidential race put a priority on fact checking.