Are You Fact-Checking Before Publishing?

A few weeks ago, I sent a newsletter with what I thought was a common issue we could all rally behind: plagiarism. I made the simple request that all writers are responsible for, you know, not stealing other people’s words. I also announced an update to our submission rules requiring citations for quotes, ideas, and images that don’t belong to you.

It turns out some of our readers thought this was an appalling request. I received multiple emails claiming that citing other people’s work is an overreach. One email said it was “impossible” to link to “everything.” Is it really that difficult to take 30-seconds to copy links and add acknowledgments?

In my freelance life, I write strategic plans for nonprofit organizations. Each project requires a ton of research on the issue the nonprofit solves. I spend a lot of my time finding primary sources of data, quotes, and information. Does it take time? Yes. Does it make the overall plan that much better? Of course!

Whether you write strategic plans or articles on Medium, fact-checking and citing sources must be part of your writing and editing process. Otherwise, you might run into a miss-quote or a plagiarism take-down notice.

Take the time and check your articles. If you still want to disagree with me about the benefits of citing sources, that’s fine. Hit reply and let me know why it’s not worth your time.

Take the time to fact-check and cite your sources before hitting publish.


Read more from The Writing Cooperative on fact-checking:

As a Matter of Fact, Facts Matter by Sandra Wendel

Editors Explain: How Important is Fact-Checking and How Can I Verify My Information? by Jessica Jungton

3 Quick Ways To Source Quality Research For Your Articles by Nick Wolny

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