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May 7 / King Kaufman

Don’t roll your eyes: Check everything, then check it one last time

Have you ever gotten advice that was so obvious you just rolled your eyes at it? I used to get it from my parents. I’m 20 years old and about to cross a busy street: “Look both ways,” Mom says.

Now that I’m a parent, I specialize in giving this type of advice.

I’ve also come to realize that it’s only roll-your-eyes obvious if you remember to take it. Here’s a note from Bleacher Report writer Levi Nile, who caught himself before making a roll-your-eyes mistake. Reprinted with Levi’s permission:

I was going to do a piece called “The Fighters: Will It Succeed Where ‘The Contender’ Failed?”

I had written about 1,500 words on it, etc. It was looking nice. But I had one lingering question I had to research … and thank God I did, because “The Fighters” was cancelled after just ONE SHOW on the Discovery Channel. By way of comparison, “The Contender” did much better than that.

I guess the moral of the story is ALWAYS CHECK THE NEWS.

Well, yeah. I mean, obviously, right?

Until, that is, the one time you forget to do it.

I can’t remember specifics, I guess because our brains protect us from painful memories by dropping them, but I know I’ve been on the wrong side of this one more than once. It’s not a great feeling at all when readers start writing in to let you know about a mistake you could have avoided with one last search of the news before publishing. It’s way worse than listening to one sentence of roll-your-eyes-obvious advice:

Check everything.

  • backell

    I honestly think if research has never taken someone in a different direction on a story than they were initially intending, they’ve never done genuine research.