Be a cautious skeptic — especially now

Look no further than the rash of stories about creepy clown sightings around the country to understand how important it is to be a healthy skeptic. The topic of healthy skepticism is timely, with good reason. Journalists get paid to ask questions, and the aim has always been to ask the right questions to get […]

Much to learn from tale of Te’o

It’s the perfect time to post about Manti Te’o, the Notre Dame football player. You probably think I’m kidding. Aren’t most of us too sick of it to even think about it? We were duped by a once-in-a-lifetime story; let’s just learn our lesson and move on. But it’s not once in a lifetime, really. […]

Strauss-Kahn case vs. skeptical editing

We have written before about skeptical editing, which is — in the words of journalist Reid MacCluggage — to put a story on the witness stand. The strategy is to ask, sentence by sentence, paragraph by paragraph, two important and often revealing questions: Who said it? How do you know it? The purpose is not […]

NPR finds it’s not skeptical enough

One of the cautions we give editors is to not “fall in love” with a cool-sounding story — so much so that their natural skepticism is suspended. That seems to be what happened with NPR on one of its recent weekend editions of “All Things Considered.” At least that is NPR’s own conclusion. According to […]

Be a skeptical editor: Video

A lot of our video posts are inspired by everyday things. Something happens, and it reminds us of parallels in the business, particularly editing. Such was the case with my purchase of new coffee mugs to replace the (no doubt) lead-tainted ones of old. It’s a miracle they haven’t made us sick. When I bought […]

Skeptical editing, Part 2: Conclusion

In yesterday’s blog post, we mentioned how students in my advanced editing course followed the process of skeptical editing as they read a New York Times story published Feb. 7, under the headline, “Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord.” We invited you to read the story and follow the same process — ask questions about […]