Ok, I'm going to admit it -- I did watch Oprah's show interviewing former VP candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin on her new book "Going Rogue." And I have marveled at how she is steely in her resolve to use said book to go after everyone (yes, that's you, Katie Couric) she feels has wronged her.
During last year's election, I became addicted to the St. Pete Times' PolitiFact blog, which fact-checked the promises, pledges, statements and "truths" told by the presidential campaigns. The Internet has made that job a lot easier for anyone, not just journalists.
To this end, I really enjoyed this post on the Talking Points Memo blog on the Associated Press's fact-checking of Palin's book -- even before it hit the shelves Nov. 17. In its fact check, AP found a virtual treasure trove "that detailed where her claims didn't line up with reality," said TPM. You can see some of what AP unearthed in the book here.
"[AP editors] bought a copy, ripped it from its spine and scanned it into the system so it could be read and electronically searched. A NewsNow moved within 40 minutes, followed quickly by multiple leads as details were gleaned from the 413-page manuscript," wrote Mike Oreskes, an AP senior managing editor in an internal memo obtained by TPM.
The point is, with all the tools out there -- free and low cost -- any reporter worth their salt can do similar checks on all types of stories. This kind of work does 2 things -- it helps sharpen our investigative skills, and, most importantly, it gives us a way to offer that extra value to readers -- who might even pay for it!