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Journalism: Fact-Checking Your Reporting

verify information by LKaras Work
Common Places of Errors by LKaras Work

Our Code of Ethics

The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics states that journalists must "seek truth and report it."

There's "no other job where you get paid to tell the truth...we are detectives for the people." The late, great investigative reporter Wayne Barrett, in his last column for the Village Voice. 

Because “journalism is a discipline of verification,”[1] that journalists consider the commitment to verification and accuracy a “strategic ritual” and part of their “professional identity,” which is “something that legitimizes a journalist’s social role as being demonstrably different from other communicators.”[2] A devotion to accuracy is the value that journalists add to issues and stories in the information ecosystem. Barbara Gray, Newmark J-SchoolThe Emerald Handbook of Modern Information Management, p 421 [1] Kovach, B., & Rosenstiel, T. (2014). The elements of journalism: what newspeople should know and the public should expect. New York: Three Rivers Press. 98. [2] Shapiro, I., Brin, C., Bédard-Brûlé, I., & Mychajlowycz, K. (2013). Verification as a Strategic Ritual: How journalists retrospectively describe processes for ensuring accuracy. Journalism Practice, 7(6), 657-673. 669.

Accuracy Checklist(s) for Reporters

Use this Newmark J-School Accuracy Checklist for ReportersMake an Accuracy Checklist a part of your reporting process.

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation Bias

"Confirmation bias, or the selective collection of evidence, is our subconscious tendency to seek and interpret information and other evidence in ways that affirm our existing beliefs, ideas, expectations, and/or hypotheses. Therefore, confirmation bias is both affected by and feeds our implicit biases. It can be most entrenched around beliefs and ideas that we are strongly attached to or that provoke a strong emotional response." 

“Confirmation and Other Biases.” Resource Library. Facing History and Ourselves. Accessed March 11, 2021. https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/facing-ferguson-news-literacy-digital-age/confirmation-and-other-biases.


How to Thwart Your Confirmation Bias

  • “*Counter-argue your story hypothesis,” or source’s assertion.
  • Actively seek out contrary information.
  • Rigorously test and verify every fact or assertion of fact before you publish, so you’ll be able to stand by the accuracy of your work later.

From Twenty ways to cultivate an open mind, From Overcoming Bias, A Journalist's Guide to culture & context