The edits to the Mexico City feature have been mercifully minimal, but as I review an editor’s fact-check queries, I am reminded of why I try to stick to that oldest piece of writing advice: Write what you know. The queries she has typed into parenthetical notations are clearly doubts that were raised after a serious Googling session. Is mole a sauce or a dish? Is the street name Avenida Reforma, Paseo de la Reforma, or just Reforma? And so on.
They’re legitimate questions and I’m relieved that the articles published in the magazine actually go through a fact-checker. But the questions also reinforce the limitations of the Internet, which simply can’t compete with the knowledge and facts we acquire by living in a place, much less our interpretive and perceptual experiences of those places. This is why I stick to writing what I know: There’s too much room for mistakes otherwise.