Getting the Story Straight

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Ever wonder how the New Yorker gets their facts right? Here’s a hint: it’s not the editor.

In an excerpt from The Art of Making Magazines: On Being an Editor and Other Views from the Industry, chapter five, “Fact-Checking at The New Yorker,” explores the evolution of The New Yorker fact-checking department and their efforts to get the story right. This excerpt was a lecture given by Peter Canby, The New Yorker fact-checking director. It opens:      

Preventing errors from appearing in the magazine is not a simple process. For openers, you need to know that in addition to the basic reporting pieces, we also check “The Talk of the Town,” the critics, fiction, poetry, cartoons, art, captions, the table of contents, certain of the several-paragraph-long essays in the “Goings On” section. We also fact-check the contributors page, the cover wrap, the letters column, all the press releases, and a good deal of the recently mounted Web site.

Happy reading!


Pat Johnson is currently working on his master’s in Fiction Writing at San Francisco State University, and is the owner and editor of the satirical news website The New Porker. When Pat’s not reading or writing he’s likely squeezing a lime into a Tecate and headed to the dance floor. He also creates short films, documentaries, and sketch comedies. Pat is completing his first novel, The Virgin and Marilyn Monroe, and writing a book of Creative Non-Fiction short stories. More from this author →