MAGAZINES WHERE I FACT CHECKED IN THE EARLY '00S AND THE FACTS I CHECKED
In the early '00s I was a freelance and sometimes full-time fact checker in New York. This list has been sitting in my "drafts" folder for months
- •Talk MagazineMy first fact checking story was 12,000 words about Chandra Levy, the DC intern who was found murdered. I had to call her parents and verify their ages and the age of their son. Her mom cried but was very kind For another story I was asked by an editor to fudge the story's facts to "make Dan Rather sexy!" I teamed up with another fact checker on a highly litigious story about Mariah Carey's breakdown. We couldn't verify many facts but kept being told "oh everyone knows that"
- •GlamourI worked here for a little over a year. They had these stories in the front of the book that were about relationships and love and what guys "really" think--kind of man on the street stuff--except 95% of it was made up or quotes were Frankensteined to give the most attractive people the most interesting things to say. We had to document everything as if it was real and keep crazy notes and folders. The fact checkers were very stressed out and some kept bottles of booze under their desks.
- •CosmopolitanI once had to call a source who was quoted in a story and referenced as an "expert on queefing." When I reached her she said, "Oh it must be so embarrassing for you to have a job where you have to ask people questions LIKE THIS!" I did not mention that she was the expert on queefs. Cosmo was also loose with the facts. Its first person stories were riddled with towns that didn't exist, sexy "movie rental" stories with movies that weren't out yet, stories lifted straight from famous fiction, etc
- •PozPoz was intense obviously bc it was dealing with people who were HIV positive, some who were very sick. There was also a level of sexual explicitness, like when I had to verify with a subject that he'd contracted AIDS by "banging like a broken screen door"