An online devotional for writers
We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us. (2 Corinthians 3:6, NLT)
Investigative reporter Jason Grotto relies on a powerful writing tool: the fact check.
“We have to be sure the question we pursue can be answered with verifiable facts,” says Jason, who has written for the Chicago Tribune and The Miami Herald.
His exposes have uncovered fraud in poverty programs, crises in public school funding, and conflicts in Iraq war funding, and other complex issues with a myriad of players and moving parts. Jason bases his reporting on hundreds of facts in documents, data, and on-the-record sources … and keeps track of all of them.
Case in point: for his Pulitzer Prize-nominated 4,000-word article on tax assessment inconsistencies, Jason tracked and flagged 291 facts on a spreadsheet, recording the source and associated details for each one.
That’s one fact check for every 14 words. And he re-checked each fact at least twice.
A lot of work? Yes.
But fact checking reveals my motives. When I confirm that the facts I use are reliable, then I can make an argument based on the truth. If I don’t check my facts, I can be in danger of leading my reader astray.
I don’t want to do that. I want to write truth.
Even if it means a fact check for every 14 words.
Truth is a powerful writing tool.
Keep me from leading my reader astray. Let me take time to check the facts and write the truth.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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Content by award-winning content writer and author Kathy Widenhouse, who specializes in writing for nonprofits and faith-based organizations.
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