Businesses in the media industry use fact-checkers to verify the truth of reported information prior to the release of a media piece to the public. This is done to avoid errors in reporting and present the appearance of unbiased, factually-based media.
Fact checkers are often employed by media companies that produce magazines, television shows and documentary films to confirm the veracity of sources, quotes, names and dates. Fact-checking quotes usually requires contacting a source and corroborating the attributed citation. Necessary skills that characterizes the fact-checking profession are a strong ability to research thoroughly and knowing when a fact has been legitimately confirmed.
The notable exceptions to fact-checking media companies are newspapers and book publishers. The former rarely employs fact checkers because the time between an article being written and published is so short. Newspaper journalists are instead expected to honestly fact-check their own work and rely on an editor to spot errors or omissions. Book publishers also do not traditionally use research or fact-checking, presuming that authors present facts in an ethical fashion.
Stephen Glass, who wrote for "The New Republic," and Jayson Blair, from "The New York Times," were involved in separate scandals involving discredited fact-checking. In both cases, the journalists invented facts, sources and quotes in order to create sensational copy.