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To check or not to check: An exploratory study on source checking by Dutch journalists

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Verifying information is one of the core activities of journalism, however recent research shows many stories derive from unchecked information from news agencies and PR material. That being said, reporters who do not use this pre-packaged material, but who instead produce original stories based on independent research, might be journalists who stay devoted to the verification of information. Therefore, this study focuses on in-depth stories that originated inside the newsroom. We expected that these kinds of stories would be checked and double-checked, because time constraints are less important and these stories are characteristic of independent, quality journalism. Contrary to this expectation, the results show that even these kinds of stories are not always vetted. The lack of time was seldom mentioned as an excuse. Our research points to avoidance mechanisms which inhibit journalists from verifying their information.
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Keywords: checking; credibility; journalism; sources; verifying

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Applied Sciences Utrecht 2: University of Amsterdam

Publication date: 30 October 2012

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