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The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking

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“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 cyc “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.


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“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 cyc “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.

30 review for The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking

  1. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    Having rediscovered my batch of unread editing books during my last bout of quarancleaning book purge, I’m trying to work my way through them. To that end I recently read Brooke Borel’s The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking, a thing I probably should have read back when I was editing news instead of technical reports. While this book is short it is quite thorough, covering the purposes of fact-checking, various craft and administrative aspects of how to do it, advice on working with writers and o Having rediscovered my batch of unread editing books during my last bout of quarancleaning book purge, I’m trying to work my way through them. To that end I recently read Brooke Borel’s The Chicago Guide to Fact-Checking, a thing I probably should have read back when I was editing news instead of technical reports. While this book is short it is quite thorough, covering the purposes of fact-checking, various craft and administrative aspects of how to do it, advice on working with writers and other types of editors, what kinds of fact-checking are necessary for different forms, and some depressing stuff on the state of the publishing industry. It also has several fact-checking exercises, with instructions clearly written for extremely literal-minded people (a good thing, I think). While the subject matter is by necessity fairly dry, it’s accessibly written and has its moments of humor. I think it’s overall a very solid and helpful resource for its intended audience, especially given how few places have full-time fact-checkers or any kind of training in fact-checking. Originally posted at In belated professional development reads.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Fraser

    I recently took an online course on social media literacy education and we learned some of the techniques that professional fact checkers employee. This was enough to arouse my curiosity about the profession and purchase this book. Most of the information I was looking for was contained in the first couple of chapters. Much of the rest of the book outlines the methods for different facets of fact checking and may be of limited interest to the casual reader, but Borel sprinkles her writing with re I recently took an online course on social media literacy education and we learned some of the techniques that professional fact checkers employee. This was enough to arouse my curiosity about the profession and purchase this book. Most of the information I was looking for was contained in the first couple of chapters. Much of the rest of the book outlines the methods for different facets of fact checking and may be of limited interest to the casual reader, but Borel sprinkles her writing with real world examples and anecdotes that will keep most readers engaged. I did appreciate the chapter on sourcing as it gave some weight to discounting arguments from fringe sources. For someone actually pursuing fact checking as a career, I imagine this would be a must-have book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jude Morrissey

    HIGHLY recommended for anyone considering journalism as a career; also anyone who is writing nonfiction, historical fiction, or another genre using actual facts. Also recommended for anyone who wants to be more engaged in fact-checking on their own - which should be everyone nowadays, really. For those who teach fact-checking (and any school with a journalism degree should have or add this class in their program), this would be an excellent textbook. For those teaching related information, this HIGHLY recommended for anyone considering journalism as a career; also anyone who is writing nonfiction, historical fiction, or another genre using actual facts. Also recommended for anyone who wants to be more engaged in fact-checking on their own - which should be everyone nowadays, really. For those who teach fact-checking (and any school with a journalism degree should have or add this class in their program), this would be an excellent textbook. For those teaching related information, this would make a really good supplemental book, especially the quiz at the end! The book is well-written and very informative, although it convinced me that fact-checker is a vital job I'd never want to have full-time. If, however, you are highly-organized, detail-oriented, and addicted to truth: consider this career field.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Busk

    Staying true to the spirit of the work, I will qualify my opinion by stating I am not a journalist, simply a consumer of news and a citizen seeking to make informed choices. The Guide is an introduction serving the novice working fact-checker; providing a thorough description of the many situations where fact-checking is used, specific guidance for the processes it requires, and strategies for dealing with the typical barriers that occur. Sprinkled throughout are “Pro Tips” – deeper insights and Staying true to the spirit of the work, I will qualify my opinion by stating I am not a journalist, simply a consumer of news and a citizen seeking to make informed choices. The Guide is an introduction serving the novice working fact-checker; providing a thorough description of the many situations where fact-checking is used, specific guidance for the processes it requires, and strategies for dealing with the typical barriers that occur. Sprinkled throughout are “Pro Tips” – deeper insights and “Think Like a Fact-Checker” – fun practice opportunities, including fact-checking part of the Guide itself. It is a thoroughly researched, well written manual created by a highly-experienced practitioner in the field. This manual might also be seen as a consumer’s guide for the Information Age. Sorting through fake news, alternative facts and (whatever)-deniers requires a more educated consumer than ever before. This was the reason I jumped on buying it, and I am happy to report, it does this really well. Who knows, fact-checking might become the next hot employment opportunity. Wouldn’t that be nice.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jen Grogan

    One of my ongoing jobs recently has been doing fact-checking for a regional travel magazine, and while I've got their system figured out (and it's pretty specific due to the kinds of sections I fact-check), I wanted to get a broader and more detailed sense of how to do fact-checking. This book was recommended to me by Lisa Gold, a local researcher and fact-checker extraordinaire, and it didn't disappoint! One of my ongoing jobs recently has been doing fact-checking for a regional travel magazine, and while I've got their system figured out (and it's pretty specific due to the kinds of sections I fact-check), I wanted to get a broader and more detailed sense of how to do fact-checking. This book was recommended to me by Lisa Gold, a local researcher and fact-checker extraordinaire, and it didn't disappoint!

  6. 5 out of 5

    S Taylor

    I am brand-new to fact checking and found this to be so helpful. I feel like it balanced depth and simplicity very well in a very readable style. I’m excited to start fact-checking the things that come through my social media feed!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a fantastic guide to the process of fact-checking in journalism and nonfiction. It's clearly and engagingly written, filled with good examples, and easily navigated with quick tips and summaries interspersed in the chapters. Great for beginners as well as seasoned journalists. This is a fantastic guide to the process of fact-checking in journalism and nonfiction. It's clearly and engagingly written, filled with good examples, and easily navigated with quick tips and summaries interspersed in the chapters. Great for beginners as well as seasoned journalists.

  8. 4 out of 5

    BookBec

    I am awed by what fact-checkers do, and it's now clear that I don't want to be one. I am awed by what fact-checkers do, and it's now clear that I don't want to be one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A quick and clear guide that still manages to make you think about the processes and elements that go into fact checking in ways that are both illuminating and surprising.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Louie

    Very comprehensive. Excellent reference book and a definite plus for your workshelf. Each chapter is a standalone and worthy of reading more than once.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Incredibly informative and a good read as well! I learned a lot.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Boterf

  14. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

  15. 5 out of 5

    Elia

  16. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  17. 4 out of 5

    María

  18. 4 out of 5

    Subhajit Das

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ingrid

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liza

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tate Williams

  25. 5 out of 5

    J. Pineiro

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kenzie Williams

  27. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stacey Douglas

  29. 4 out of 5

    Madeleine

  30. 4 out of 5

    Antony

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