I’m participating on tudiabetes as a person living with diabetes, not in my specific role as editor, so I’ll answer in general.
Ask a handful of editors and you’ll get a handful of answers about how stories for magazines, newspapers, and online are researched, written, and fact-checked. Unfortunately, fact-checking is a function that has become increasingly neglected thanks to downsizing in the publishing industry and the flurry of content now available online.
Stories in popular media may be fact-checked but are not necessarily reviewed by an independent panel of experts. A general-interest publication that has an advisory board benefits from professional eyes reading the articles–if those articles are actually sent to and reviewed by the advisory board members. Sometimes a list is just a list.
I’ve appreciated working with advisory board members who have lots of clinical experience and who are actively involved in professional organizations, volunteer work, and continuing education. A journal may benefit from advisory board members devoted to research.
The interesting thing about reporting and writing is that just about every facet of the process is open to interpretation–by the researcher/writer, by the editor, and certainly by the reader. It seems so simple to present both sides of a story–as if there were only two sides! But that is just not the case. The experts selected, the amount of time spent in discussion with them, the particular emphasis of the experts, the skill of the writer at gauging and conveying meaning (not everyone speaks in sound bites), the purpose of the story, the intended audience for the story, the amount of space allotted to the story, etc., all help shape the finished piece. Even a so-called fact can be misleading or incorrect if not placed in context. Which “facts” should be included? Which “facts” are not necessary for a particular article in a particular publication at a particular time for a particular audience? And even if the facts are correct, is the writing clear, engaging, meaningful to the reader?
It’s pretty difficult to have one piece of content be the “ultimate” piece about a particular topic. I’m always eager for people to show me pieces they consider ultimate. That helps me improve my skills.
(It might be a fun project to challenge people on tudiabetes to write what they consider to be the ultimate piece about LADA! I would love to read that.)
Fact or fiction, I appreciate the rich pageant of thought and words devoted to diabetes.