USC Annenberg Media Resources

Fairness and Accuracy Checklist


  • Correct pronunciation and spelling of an interviewee’s name and title.
  • Copy is spelled correctly (for the Web) and grammatically correct.
  • Double and triple check the facts and figures in your story. Use terms correctly.
  • Check the accuracy of a source’s statements with other sources.  Your story shouldn’t sound like an advertisement or a news release.
  • Did you attribute information when necessary?
  • Is all of your copy original? Take extra care not to plagiarize sentences from other sources.
  • Your reporting should give context and help listeners understand the big picture.
  • Did you give opponents enough time to respond to allegations made in your story?
  • Go beyond your own bias, cultural norms and knowledge to understand the story.  Don’t make assumptions about what your audience may or may not know.
  • Use words and phrases that are politically neutral in a way that doesn’t make it look like you are taking sides.
  • Is your story fair to the people who have an interest in the story?  
  • Statements should be supported by the facts in your story.
  • Be transparent in your reporting process, i.e. be upfront about how you did the reporting.
  • Use of ambient sound should be true to what was present at the scene.
  • Edit audio to keep the speaker’s words in the proper context and accurately reflect what the person said and was asked to respond to.

About This Site

This is a resource hub to help student reporters at the Annenberg Media Center.

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Contact the Media Center

General inquiries:

News / TV inquiries:
213 740 3847
213 821 8477
213 821 8888

Radio inquiries:
213 740 1079
213 740 8008

For equipment-related issues:
213 740 5739