Adventures in Fact-Checking

| 1/12/2007 12:00:00 AM

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Yesterday I called a company to fact-check some details about a fair trade item for an upcoming issue of Natural Home. The company owner confirmed that we did indeed have all the correct information, and then she said, “I’ve always wondered how someone gets a job as a fact-checker.”

I laughed. “Fact-checking is just part of my job; I don’t devote full time to it. I’m actually just an editor making sure the 'i's are dotted and the 't's are crossed before we go to press.”

“Just an editor!” she exclaimed.

Yes, just an editor. In the heat of deadlines and proofreading and juggling a number of articles from at least two—more often three—issues at a time, I forget that some people envision an editor’s glamorous life. Well, fact-checking seems more tedious than glamorous to me, yet it arms me with myriad obscure bits of info—and it’s nice to pass them along to readers.

Over the years, I’ve ferreted out details such as what distinguishes cruelty-free silk from conventional (the cruelty-free version waits to harvest cocoon fibers until the silkworms have hatched; thus the fibers are shorter in length because the insect had to tear through the cocoon).

I know the difference between tropical hardwoods ipe and machiche (hmmm…come to think of it, I’d have to look that up again, but I do know that to protect rainforests we should buy wood that’s been third-party-certified as sustainably forested).

elderberry, echinacea, bee hive


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