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Fact-checking 101: Step-by-step tips to check for errors, annotating your stories

Brooke Borel

Nobody wants to make a mistake in a story, yet a few errors can slip past our best efforts.

Fact checking is especially critical for freelancers as our credibility depends on filing accurate stories – even if magazines have fact-checkers, do you really want to send in a story with misnamed drugs or misspelled sources? Or, if you find your patient interviews from online discussion groups, you’ll need to make certain they actually have the disease you’re writing about.

In this tip sheet, prepared in conjunction with an AHCJ webcast, author and freelancer Brooke Borel provides step-by-step tips on how to check your story for errors, how to annotate your stories for a checker, materials you need and when to start annotating. Borel is the author of the recently-published, “The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking”.

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