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Freelance Fact Checking

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 4 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Freelance Fact Checking

Fact checking is a type of work generally associated with the media and publishing industries. Fact checkers literally check the facts that are put forth to the public by the media.

Fact checking has more often been associated with American publications and media than those in other parts of the world, so freelance fact checkers may well find themselves checking facts for American media outlets around the world.

In order to win such work, freelancers must be ready and willing to undertake the research required to verify the information that will be released to the public.

Freelance Fact Checking: The Work

Fact checking, as so aptly described by the name, is literally the process of checking the facts that are presented in any given media story.

This may mean verifying statistics with the sources that originally published them, discussing the results of studies with those who carried them out, contacting individuals quoted in a given story and much more.

In general, fact checkers will work with the writer or reporter of a story and use their notes to start the fact checking research. Many larger publications have in-house fact checking staff, but may also employ freelance fact checkers as needed.

Often these fact checkers must be known and trusted by a publication, or at least in the wider industry, so it can be hard for freelance fact checkers to break into this type of work. International freelance fact checkers may also be employed if a good amount of research must be conducted on the ground in an area in which the publication does not have any fact checking staff.

Freelance Fact Checking: Markets

Freelance fact checkers have many markets that they may work with, though most of them are in the media and publishing industries.

Newspapers and magazines in particular often rely on fact checkers to verify the information in the stories that they will publish, but publishing companies may also employ fact checkers to go through non fiction texts, memoirs and even anthologies to make sure that the information presented is correct.

In the modern multi-media environment of news and publishing, fact checkers may also be employed by organisations and agencies to verify information in television news stories, radio reports, in online videos and even in the links used throughout stories published on the Internet.

Though fact checkers are not used by some publications it does not mean that they might not be needed in the future. Developing contacts within a variety of markets is a good idea for a freelancer interested in fact checking now or in the future.

Fact checking is a way for media and publishing agencies to feel confident in the information that they put out for public audiences. It is also a way for them to avoid any lawsuits or discrediting that may accompany false information.

Sadly there have been high profile cases of writers and reporters fabricating their stories, so clearly there is a need for fact checking in the modern media. While fact checking does remain most popular in America, freelance fact checkers can be employed around the world to help verify information in books, articles and multi-media stories.

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