How to emulate the practices of professional journalists
As more individuals practice citizen journalism and more organizations incorporate media into their online communication strategies, it’s important to keep in mind the fundamental precepts of journalism.
Here’s a short guide to ensuring accuracy from the Center for Citizen Media in a project that I managed.
Before you write
1. The best way to maintain accuracy is to develop a system and stick to it.
2. Take the extra seconds to read back to the interviewee the spelling of his or her name. If you need an age, ask for a birth date and year.
3. Avoid using secondary sources to verify facts.
4. If you have to use secondary sources, find at least two and make sure they agree independently; don’t simply ask one to confirm what the other said.
5. Verify phone/fax numbers, web and email addresses. For example, copy the url from the document and paste it into a browser. Call the phone number.