How Fact-Checking Works

October 25, 2012 | 1 book mentioned 2

Ever wondered how the fact-checking process works? Well wonder no longer. The Columbia Journalism Review posted an excerpt from their recently published Art of Making Magazines collection, and it explains The New Yorker’s workflow as well as the perils of “Shoot-the-Fact-Checker Syndrome.”

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.


  1. One of the most fascinating glimpses into fact-checking is THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT, which consists of the text of an article that John D’Agata published in THE BELIEVER and his often cranky but funny exchanges with the magazine’s fact checker, Jim Fingal; the email exchanges between D’Agata and Fingal take up much of the book than does the original article. (Complicating this whole question is that some accounts say that the exchanges in the book were written to represent the process of fact-checking, rather than being exactly the exchanges between D’Agata and Fingal.) Still, for journalism/writing/editing geeks, it’s a fascinating book.

    I know this pushes the discussion away from the original post just a bit (fact-checking) but carrying this even further, into the whole question of “what is fact” in non-fiction, is an essay that appears on TriQuarterly, “The Facts of the Matter.”

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