SATW: 60 Second Travel Writer #7 – Reliable Sources

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Liz in PinkWhat are “reliable sources?”

I’m Westways Travel Editor Elizabeth Harryman, and here’s a 60-Second Travel Writer Tip:

When you research a topic, use accurate, trustworthy sources. If the tobacco industry funds a report on smoking, for example, the results might not be as reliable as a report done, say, by the American Medical Association.

When you submit an article for publication, you’ll often be asked to provide contact information for the sources you used so that researchers can fact-check the story. A primary source is the person you interviewed or wrote about. A secondary source could be a person affiliated with the person or company—could be a Public Relations representative. They’re great for checking things like the number of rooms in a hotel—but if they say the chef is fabulous—well, you might want to get the opinion of a food expert. Be careful about websites. If you’re writing about national parks, for example, NPS.gov is a good source, but beware of commercial sites masquerading as the real thing. And while Wikipedia can be a place to start, don’t rely on it; make sure you have a second source.

For SATW professional development, I’m Westways Travel Editor Elizabeth Harryman.