Stop a journalist on the street and ask her to list the fundamentals of the job and you’re almost certain to hear mention of accuracy.
In “The Elements of Journalism,” Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel wrote that journalism’s “essence is a discipline of verification.”
But how do journalists actually go about verifying information in their everyday work? What does it look like in practice, and how does it vary from one reporter to the next?
Fundamental questions, and yet there’s little academic research to answer them.
“While there is a long tradition of measuring news reports’ accuracy post hoc … substantially less work has examined the processes by which journalists seek to attain accuracy,” write Canadian journalism researchers Ivor Shapiro, Colette Brin, Isabelle Bédard-Brûlé and Kasia Mychajlowycz in their newly published paper, “Verification As A Strategic Ritual: How journalists retrospectively describe processes for ensuring accuracy.”
It’s perhaps the first paper to offer a look at how working journalists view and practice verification. Read more