Just the Facts
IT’S BEEN A TOUGH YEAR or two for the concept of accuracy. In the political sphere, inane relativism (“alternative facts,” “truth isn’t truth”) has popularized the idea there can be two sets of reality. It’s been a tough couple years for content creators as well, who have overseen too many slip-ups—a by-product of an ever-worsening business model, pushing fewer people to produce more.
I’ve been watching this acutely. Since our founding, Forbes has always had a point of view. But those opinions were always built upon a pedestal of facts. It’s the accuracy of reporting that grants the ability to make a strong, informed opinion.
at’s why Forbes is one of the very few media outlets that still use fact-checkers. Some 25 full-time sta ers spend a big chunk of their time going over our journalism line by line with highlighters, double-checking the math, ipping through notes and original sources (a company’s annual report is kosher; a Wall Street Journal clip isn’t), and re-interviewing subjects. e “checker,” the writer and their editor then review and clarify before publication. Details matter: Our guidelines remind the checker to verify whether a company’s o ce is really redbrick or whether the heart really does beat a billion times a month.
“Hopefully, it gives readers peace of mind that what they’re getting from Forbes is quality, fair, credible journalism,” says Michela Tindera, who started as a checker and now meticulously oversees the process.
It’s more than a service to our audience and our brand. Factchecking is like a reporting autopsy—young reporters get to take apart and then put together stories from some of the best journalists in the business. It’s not a coincidence that most of the editors at the top of this masthead, myself included, started out checking at Forbes. All of them will testify how a fealty to facts helped shaped their careers.
While we don’t fact-check each story we publish online (at 250-plus posts a day, that’s not feasible—and less necessary, since the format allows us to instantly correct mistakes), every single magazine article in every issue, and each of our digital Daily Cover Stories, goes through this gauntlet. Yes, even this letter. While it’s my signature below, Christian Kreznar made sure the underlying facts were correct. My gratitude goes to him and the entire team working to ensure that you can trust what you read here.
Michela Tindera (front center), the “checkers” (front) and checker alums.