One sure-fire way to prevent errors is to create a list of the mistakes you are most likely to make — and create a checklist to help you avoid those mistakes.

To create your personalized accuracy checklist:

Identify the specific tasks that you perform on a regular basis for your work. Are there any specific pieces of information or actions that your publishing platform requires? Do you need to remember to write headlines or captions? Think about all of the important tasks you do. Could any of them lead to an error if they were omitted or done incorrectly?

List the last five-10 mistakes you can remember making. Identify the type of error, not the actual error. That means writing "misspelled name" rather than the specific name you misspelled.  Don't be shy about this; err on the side of listing too many mistakes rather than too few.

Think about the causes of error and list them below your list of mistakes. Did you, for example, forget to ask a source to spell his or her name? Did you use a statistic from a news release without independently verifying the information?

The next time a deadline hits and you're rushing to get something done, you'll have a clear list of the things you need to review — and do. No need to rely on memory; no chance you'll forget something important.

Taken from Getting It Right: Accuracy and Verification in the Digital Age, a self-directed course by Craig Silverman at Poynter NewsU.

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