ARTICLE: Magazine editors at a crossroads, when it comes to fact-checking

Picture: Corrections, proof by 3844328, license CC0 1.0

Websites, mobile platforms and social media have challenged magazines’ conventionally high-quality fact-checking. Susan Currie Sivek, of Linfield College and Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin, of Columbia College Chicago studied fact-checking practices applied to stories in magazines and their non-print platforms. The authors interviewed editors of 11 well-regarded magazines in the United States.

The results show that practices for digital content are still evolving. The editors continue to value fact-checking of their print products prior to publication, seeing them as the flagship properties of their brands. This is on the expense of digital platforms, even though more people use these magazine’s content online than on print, the study finds.

After the publication fact-checking style familiar to online news is also common in magazines. The practices are still being established. Editors are aware that lack of accuracy and distrust in digital content can also affect the reputation of their print products, the authors sum up the interviews. They conclude that maintaining magazines’ traditionally strong culture of fact-checking is critical to their reputation, also in the digital realm.

The article “Where Do Facts Matter?” was published in Journalism Practice and is available online (free abstract). Read also the Columbia Journalism Review article written by the authors.

Picture: Corrections, proof by 3844328, license CC0 1.0

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