It's nearly impossible for a travel writer to write a book or article about a location without visiting that location. During the fact-finding mission, the writer has the advantage of living in the area and experiencing the neighborhood firsthand. Reading what other people wrote and seeing what other people said, even natives, isn't the same as experiencing those same things. The writer offers an authentic take on the area, including what the people are like, parking, local attractions and even the exact taste of food in local restaurants.
Fact-finding is the only way to verify sources and ensure the validity of a topic. Newspapers, magazines and book publishers use fact-finders to verify information provided by the writer. On-site fact-finders look at the sources provided by the writer to double-check the information. In certain cases, such as travel writing, the writer goes on a fact-finding mission before writing.
Authenticity in Travel Articles
Verifying sources is a major advantage associated with fact-finding. Whenever a source is quoted, the fact-finder must locate the person who made the claim and verify that the quote came from that source. A source that is attributed to the wrong person makes the writer and publisher look amateurish and can even result in complaints or lawsuits from the original source. The fact-finder must also locate the source and ensure that the person exists, and is not someone the writer created for the story.
Fact-finding is a way to resolve disputes between facts, according to Beyond Intractability. A factual dispute occurs when two people provide conflicting claims. For example, a local group may discover that a company is dumping waste in the local river or water supply, while the company claims it safely disposes of all waste. The fact-finder examines both sides of the case, looks for evidence that supports one claim over the other, and presents the evidence that supports the true claim. Fact-finders typically remain objective and do not support one side.
Builds a Network of Sources
Fact-finding gives the researcher the chance to build a new network of sources and informants that help with future projects. The researcher often calls multiple people and follows leads from those people to different ones. Every time the researcher finds a new source, it gives her an informant for future articles, which makes future work easier.