Years ago (pre-Web) I was a news researcher for the Washington Post, and in a job before that responded to inquires from Congress as a staffer at the Congressional Research Service. Both jobs involved digging things up and fact checking in books (“You Could Look It Up“) and in expensive databases that you dialed up and used arcane search strings to mine. Now resources beyond anything I had access to (and that included the largest library in the world when I was at LoC) are are few taps of a cell phone away. But in that constant blizzard of content, what’s reliable? What counts as news? What factual standards should reporters aim for, particularly in a breaking news situation?
A group of journalists has just put out a web resource to address this issue, The Verification Handbook. I’ve only just begun to browse it, but the content looks strong and the need is real.
Thanks to Joyce Venza’s school library blog, Never Ending Search for the pointer.