Accuracy is a key component of every single aspect of your life as a citizen journalist.
It is the foundation stone of your work – and your reputation.
It is relevant to the presentation of your stories and their content and your relationships (to readers, interviewees and professional contacts).
Spelling and grammar
There is no room for lazy or inaccurate spelling and grammar on No Fibs.
If you’re not great at spelling and grammar – that’s okay, we’re here to help – our contributors’ guide contains a detailed style guide showing how to include relevant information, particularly on politics.
However we do require you to be willing to pay attention to those red and green lines that appear on your computer screen. They are telling you something – even though they’re not always right and they can easily miss glaring errors.
No Fibs works with Australian spelling.
Check check check – and if you’re not sure, Google. There is an answer to everything grammar and spelling at your fingertips.
Names – people
It’s amazing how many ways there are to spell the name ‘John’.
Never ever ever make assumptions about how people spell their names.
Because if you can’t spell their name correctly, have no doubt they (and their friends/colleagues) will question the accuracy of everything else you write.
Here’s an easy technique for asking an obvious question: right at the start of your interview, say your interviewee’s name out loud – spell it out as you write it down.
“That’s John – J-O-H-N? J-O-N? Smith – S-M-I-T-H?”
They will immediately spell out their name for you.
Names – things
In any news story, if you are reporting the name of an organisation or event or report or anything at all that has a name – you must write the name in full and get it right.
In the case of long names for organisations or reports, people rarely say them correctly.
Gonski is a case in point. We know ‘Gonski’ is a comprehensive report into education in Australia.
What we may not know is that it is actually the ‘Review of Funding for Schooling’.
The correct way to report something like this on No Fibs would be: ‘…. the Review of Funding for Schooling, known as ‘the Gonski Report’, …..’ And thereafter you may refer to the report as ‘the Gonski Report’.
In the CSG campaign, for example, there are a range of stakeholder organisations, all of whom will have short or colloquial versions of their names.
When you first reference them in your story, use their full/official name – after that you may shorten it.
Check check check every single fact or claim you or anyone you interview makes in your story.
All facts or opinions must be attributed to someone or something.
All facts or opinions must be expressed with respect – even if the person you are interviewing is angry.
It’s okay to be angry – it’s not okay to abuse others.
Is it true? Is it fair?