read: 21 October 2004
This book makes me sort of nostalgic, as a librarian, for a time when checking facts was considered an essential part of journalism. Smith has had several fact checking jobs at illustrious publications and wrote this slim volume between two of those jobs. She outlines what a fact checker does, why it is important and goes over some of the central conflicts that come up in her job. For example: you have a quotation that someone has cheated on his wife. You can verify that he said it, but can you verify the quote? To call the wife would be considered hurtful, to call the mistress quite likely impossible. What do you do? Smith covers those and other dilemmas in a chatty and engaging discussion of journalism and the ethics surrounding veracity.
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