The Cost of Fact-Checking

What the Panama Papers revealed about today's news cycle

by Staff Written

April 5, 2016 at 4:29 pm

For those of us who went to school for journalism or public relations, we were taught to always fact check sources, data and information of all kinds. And I mean always.

Today, the demand on journalists to turn information into a news story, and get it 100 percent correct, is unrealistic.  Expectations like these are amounting to hourly online news story edits, sometimes upwards of 10-15 corrections in one day on one story. Why? Because we want the news and we want it instantaneously.

To verify or not to verify? That is the question I find myself pondering today.

So, what do the Panama Papers have to do with this topic? Well, a few U.S. news outlets received flack this week for not publishing details of the data leak until late Sunday evening, several hours after the news broke on other, less mainstream media websites.

Below are two Twitterers wondering why The Washington Post and The New York Times haven’t published anything regarding the big news.

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If you’re a reporter or an editor at The New York Times, or pretty much any other major U.S. media outlet, you were most likely scratching your head about what just broke the Internet (soon to be lowercase, thank you AP Style) because you were not part of the group of journalists in on the leak. With that being the case, we can assume that as any good journalist should, they were running around like crazy trying to get the facts straight.

See here for an explanation from Matt Purdy, deputy executive editor of The New York Times.

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What do you think? Would you rather have somewhat accurate, yet instantaneous, news? Or would you prefer to wait to get the full story, facts and all? Let us know what you think in the comment section.

April 5, 2016 at 4:29 pm

Staff Written

  • Amy La Sala

    Fact-checking all the way! I suppose I’m old school, but I want my news correct, not corrected.

  • Bill Mayhall

    I’d rather the media got it right – especially with a story as complex as this one!