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Running fact-check/source list template: A resource for MatadorU students

[Apologies to regular readers who aren’t MatadorU students; life/work have been exceptionally busy, with more travel than usual and, happily, more deadlines for several big-name publications… all those deadlines fall on 4/30, too. This is a quick post intended to provide a resource for MatadorU students; will resume regular programming at Cuaderno Inedito soonish. In the meantime, feel free to check out my new tumblr blog, Ugly English, where I post photos of bad English from around the world.]


Several of you have asked how to keep a fact-check/source list. Here’s an example from an article I’m writing for Scientific American [phone numbers and last names have been redacted for privacy]. The same basic format can be used for travel writing. Note that the fact check and source list includes: information sourced online (unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise, make sure that your sources are legitimate, as opposed to bloggy gossip); interviews conducted via email or phone; other physical information you consulted (library archives and the like). What I’ve done here is list the fact that’s mentioned in the article and then indicated the source and/or process for getting the information.

Feel free to ask more questions in the comments section below.


Fact Check:

111×36 miles:

Puerto Rico Trench:

7% of the island is designated as protected:


Northeast Corridor:

Early- and mid-20th century rebuilds:
La Concha (1958):
Condado Vanderbilt (1919):

Coffee harvest statistics:

Phosophorescent bay count:
Spoke with Linda [name redacted] of press relations for Ocean and Atmospheric Research division of NOAA on 2/22/2011 at 12:40 PM ([phone number redacted] is office number; [phone number redacted] is telework number). She’s going to check with Office of Ocean Exploration and Research and call me back.

Howard H. Seliger (H.H. Seliger in the literature): Retired professor of Johns Hopkins; has studied luminescences in bays in PR and fireflies. [phone number redacted].
[email redacted]; sent him an email on 3/1/2011; bounced back as undeliverable

Puerto Rico Departamento de Recursos Naturales: [phone number redacted] (called on 3/1/2011 at 2:40 PM; left message)

Lee Mitchell, authored this paper:
emailed him on 3/1/2011

Native, endemic, non-native, and invasive species information:
-Camilla Feibelman of the Sierra Club: Email correspondence and documents provided are available upon request.
-Richard Thomas, herpetologist and professor at the University of Puerto Rico
-Carlos Andres Rodriguez Gomez, UPR student

Mining facts:

Dr. Arturo Massol Deya
[email redacted] emailed on 3/3/2011
here’s his article:

Casa Pueblo/Goldman Prize:

New 7 Wonders of Nature

Ineffective land use planning:

declining bioluminescence in La Parguera


2 responses »

  1. Leo el Marinero

    I just read you article on Scientific Amercan and left a comment directed at the non-sense comments left ther by users. I was under the impression I was replying to one of those but instead was placed as a new post. I appears the website does not properly display replies to posts.

    Here is the coment:

    Mr Cordero, CEO of PREPA, issued the public statement about the lack of desirability of the north shore pier during his presentation at Universidad del Turabo in Caguas Puerto Rico fall 2010 at an energy symposium.
    If you are able to get a copy of that presentation please forward me a copy.

  2. Pingback: Backstory of my National Geographic Traveler “Best Places of 2013″ Article « Cuaderno Inedito

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