Making Sure Your Stories are Accurate

Use this information to create a tool to refer to on EVERY story. Create an “accuracy checklist” (Some links below will give you examples and instructions).

Don’t blow your credibility on basic items. The Basics are so important in news.

Here are 10 important items to double check. Special Credit goes to NPR Training which has a much more extensive list.

Many of these things you should ensure you get while reporting, whether or not they end up in the story.

Ages — Get the date and birth and do the math. Just because the police say someone is 35 doesn’t mean they are correct.
Grammar and spelling — There are some listeners or readers who will discount your reporting if you discount the use of proper grammar and usage.
Historical information — We all think we remember. Checking the history could reveal us to be human.
Names of people, groups & institutions. Get the correct spelling and pronunciation. Record the pronunciation. It is so wonderful when you pronounce the name of the local arts center correctly.
Numbers — Check your math. Learn about percent vs. percentage point. Don’t mix up millions and billions. Uncomfortable with your math, then please make sure you get someone else to doublecheck it.
Places — This is easier with web resources, but make sure you have locations and pronunciations of such places correct.
Pronunciations — Not only names, but places and terms, too. IBANewsroom has a pronunciation guide available.
Quotes — Make sure they’re accurate, correctly attributed and in proper context.
Titles — Find out the exact title. CEO & President are not always the same.
Whens — Are you sure it happened then? Confirm.
Web addresses and phone numbers — Never report them without testing them first. orgs, coms and all the rest can get mixed up.

Other sources to help you
Reynolds Center For Business Journalism Accuracy Checklist
NPR Accuracy Checklist
Steve Buttry Accuracy Checklist
Poynter Accuracy Tips