The Fact-Check Checklist

You interviewed your sources for an article, wrote it up and turned it in. Done? Not yet. Often you need to provide backup info for the publication’s fact checkers, and requirements for doing so vary. With that in mind, here’s a checklist to keep even the toughest fact checkers happy—and to pave the way for that second assignment.

Let your sources know a fact-checker may be in touch with them, and request helpful contact info, such as the best time or place to reach them.
Create a file with the names, phone numbers (ideally, including work, home and cell), and e-mail contacts of every source in alphabetical order, and submit it to the editor with your article.
Include a direct link, rather than a home page, for each Web source referenced in the text.
If you’re citing an article or book that is not available online, include a note offering a hard copy with any quotes or paraphrased info highlighted.
If an editor has requested that you provide your interview notes, highlight or boldface the information and quotes you’ve used. Identify whether your notes are full or selective transcriptions, or based on memory.
If any printed material needs to be returned to you, include the address to which it should be sent.
If there are weak points in your story—something you’re not 100 percent on, sensitive quotes, etc.—describe these issues in a brief note.

By sending all of these materials when you submit the story, you’ll alleviate the need for fact checkers to keep calling you. Still, be aware of the dates that the magazine will finish your story, and try to be accessible. Editors and fact checkers may need to get in touch with you with questions.

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