Just the Facts

Forbes - - Sidelines - —RAN­DALL LANE, CHIEF CON­TENT OF­FI­CER

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.

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