Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Accuracy Counts!"

When writing writing non-fiction stories, or let's say, news reports for the newspaper--especially front-page, headlining news--it's extremely important to be accurate with the facts. I would say that we "story" writers seem to take that more seriously than the media have or still do.

Case in point: 14 April 1912 (97 years ago today)--The British steamship RMS Titanic, which was thought to be virtually unsinkable, struck an iceberg. More than 1,500 people, which included both passengers and crew, perished after the impact from the crash crippled the vessel and ultimately caused it to sink into the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. Among the famous passengers who were killed were John Jacob Astor IV and his bride; Isidor Straus; and Benjamin Guggenheim. One of the most famous survivors was Margaret Brown, later to be known as "The Unsinkable Molly Brown."

The Fitchburg Sentinel initially reported on April 15, 1912:
"Though hard hit and damaged at the bow, the giant steamer, on her maiden trip across the water, from Southampton for New York, stands a fair chance of reaching port safely, for the officers of the White Star line say that she can not sink because her air tight compartments will hold her afloat."

NOTE: By April 16, reports confirmed that the Titanic had been lost, and of the more than 2,220 passengers, only around 700 survived

Some of the many irresponsible, inaccurate headlines can be found here, here, and here, with such titles as "Titanic's Passengers All Rescued and "Not One Is Lost."

My father always told me that it was always best "to err on the side of caution," so I would do that if you're not absolutely sure about a fact. If you don't have something to back it up with, then leave it out of your story/article. You certainly don't want someone coming back later to question the rest of your work, all because of one shaky bit of information; it's just not worth it!

Remember: They said the Titanic would never sink...

Until next time...stay safe, stay well, and may God bless you all.


Please check out my other blogs:
Cynde's Daybook ~and~ Usurper Exposed. Thank you!


Morgan Mandel said...

I freelanced for the Daily Herald newspaper for a while. It was a necessary chore to be sure my facts were accurate. Other than that, I enjoyed writing the articles.

Morgan Mandel

Cynde L. Hammond said...

Hi, Morgan!

That must have been so interesting! It's too bad you can't give our local paper a hand--they have a hard time getting the simplest of stories done accurately. It's appalling!Thanks for checking in. It's always good to hear from you!


Carma's Window said...

You bring up important information that not only do writers have to be entertaining they must present the facts, even in fiction. Facts are hard to dispute but if one is wrong, oh boy!


Cynde L. Hammond said...

Dear Carma,

Amen to that! One of the quickest ways to lose our credibility with our readers is to mess up the facts--in fiction or non-fiction! As you well know, from doing it ourselves, our readers pay close attention to the details, whether they realize it or not. That's part of what keeps them interested and coming back for more!

Furthermore, we owe it to them to do the best job that we possibly can do.

Thanks for visiting my blog again, Carma! I love it when you drop by.

CyndeHave you seen my other blogs?