By Mary Charlebois
Travel writing is non-fiction. When you compose a story, the information you share must be correct.
Before you hit that send button, go through your story carefully, verify the facts. Make sure you aren’t sharing outdated information, rumors, or mistakes. Verifying can be done in person, by phone, via email, or on a subject’s website.
These are some of the most critical areas when fact-checking.
- Verify the spelling of people’s names, businesses, streets, cities, states, counties, and
Is a hotel’s name Hotel Mendocino, or The Hotel Mendocino? Is the chef’s name, John or Jon? Is the address Baker Street or Baker Avenue?
- Verify phone and street numbers.
- Verify all dates.
- Verify and attribute quotes, especially if you did not take the quote in person. Contact the person attributed. If that’s not possible, scour the internet searching for the individual’s name. There are quote dictionaries online and in print that cover quotes. If you can’t verify it, leave it out.
- Verify web addresses by clicking the link you include.
Verify the facts by going back to your source—double-check—make sure you haven’t transposed 1497 to 1947 or other typos. If contacting someone via phone or email to verify, let them know you have ‘follow-up questions.’ Most folks are happy to comply and clarify but can be irate with an editor when you get it wrong.
Make an editor happy, check the facts before submitting your work.