Accuracy is the starting point for all good journalism. Get your facts right, then check them again. Know where to look to verify claims or to separate fact from fiction.
Being factual has many dimensions. For example, on the Web it's especially valuable to say what you don't know, not just what you do -- and to ask readers to fill you in as well. Accuracy means correcting what you get wrong, and doing it promptly.
This section offers advice from publishers and pioneers in citizen media and traditional journalism as well as resources and best practices. See our slide show, where experts offer their advice. Watch the screencast on different ways to make corrections. We have a tip sheet and -- a favorite -- some too-true confessions of mistakes, the kind we all make at least once (and, if we're smart, only once).
Fact-checking in citizen journalism
Slide show: Discussion of how to achieve accuracy in reporting. Interviews with Amy Gahran, Contentious.com; Brooks Jackson, director of Factcheck.org, and Courtney Lowery, managing editor of NewWest.net.
How to correct mistakes online
Screencast: How should an online publication handle corrections when it publishes a mistake? This screencast looks at best practices in correcting errors at news sites and blogs.
Accuracy tip sheet
How-to: A one-page tip sheet for citizen journalists to consult before, during and after writing your story.
My biggest screw-up
Confessional: We asked reporters to tell us their most memorable journalistic gaffes or foul-ups, as a note of warning to citizen journalists about the importance of double-checking your facts. Here are some of their stories.
Chuckle: A few notable gaffes by major newspapers when someone fell asleep at the switch.
The unmasking of Lonelygirl15
Citizen sleuthing: An online Q&A with the teenager Matt Foremski, who uncovered the true identity of YouTube's Lonelygirl15.
When a reporter writes about you
Tip sheet: Suggestions for improving the accuracy of news coverage about you. It doesn't hurt to ask to see the article before it runs.
A conversation about accuracy
Audio interview: Content strategist and blogger Amy Gahran talks about quality content, accuracy and transparency in journalism.
Online directory: Tips and resources for getting it right, from journalism organizations and independent sites.