- He is the second-most popular writer in the world, second only to J.K. Rowling.
- He has been a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.
The editor checks these facts before the conference program goes to press. It could be embarrassing for the company, after all, if it published erroneous information about the speakers.
This editor has a rule when working on such material: Always check awards and superlatives. Did the person get that prize or nomination? Is he really the first, the best or the only?
In this case, the editor couldn’t find the author’s name on a list of finalists on the Pulitzer Prize website. She also found no evidence to back up the assertion that he trailed only Rowling in popularity. The editor removed those statements from the presenter’s bio in the conference program.
Fact errors can distract, confuse, or mislead readers. They can damage the credibility of a writer, a publisher, or a company.
That’s another reason editing is valuable. Among their other duties, editors can play an important role in checking facts and ensuring accuracy, protecting their company or client from embarrassment or worse.
Superlatives and awards are just two areas that are always worth verifying. There are many more, and a careful editor will recognize the need to identify potential problems and use the reliable resources to remedy them.
Learn more about fact checking in Andy Bechtel’s Master Class, Getting Your Facts Straight, on Thursday, September 22, 2016.