21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference: United by a common interest

The third annual 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference, took place at Manhattan College in New York City on June 12–14 2015. This unique conference was founded in 2013 to explore opportunities in the field of children’s nonfiction and unite practitioners and publishers who have this common interest. Conference sessions included new trends in publishing, social media marketing, and a panel session, Responding to Our Questions, which saw publishers discussing what they are looking for and what they are excited about in children’s nonfiction. In all, there were 25 workshops, 10 Open Table sessions, 3 panel discussions, as well as intensive workshops and one-on-one critiques. Continue reading “21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference: United by a common interest” »

Summer Reading challenge launched

imageThe Summer Reading Challenge, aimed at 4-11 year olds is now in its 17th year.
The Reading Agency has teamed up with Guinness World Records this year and is hoping to set a new record for “most pledges received for a reading campaign”. Libraries will collect children’s “pledges” to read as many books as possible this summer. For more details see the website.

New workshops coming soon for summer!

P1030470Happy summertime everyone – looks like it is officially here!

We are just about to add four new 3-hr workshops to the PResS programme – speed reading; evaluating Web sources; desk research online and ‘smart’ fact checking. These new workshops are designed for maximum effectiveness, a mix of the practical and theoretical, designed to improve your productivity and speed of working. All workshops will be tailored to group needs.

More information to be released soon. In the meantime do get in touch if you are interested.

Get your facts right…. most of the time?


By Svjo. CC BY-SA 4.0

Just having a late night rummage through the interweb and found quite an interesting article from August 2014 Red Rocket Media blog, featuring tips for fact checking. It’s been a while since I’ve thought about the fact checking and desk research process and how to ‘teach’ someone to do it (no – it’s not just Googling your question, though in some cases that might work!) – there is far more to it than that.  Continue reading “Get your facts right…. most of the time?” »

Fact checking the truth

The American Press Institute, an educational and nonprofit organization affiliated with the Newspaper Association of America, has taken the lead on a project which hopes to improve the practice of fact-checking in journalism.

The project, which is funded by a grant, will support research to improve fact-checking in the United States political media. The API also hopes to work with journalists and newspapers to increase the adoption of fact-checking practices, as well as contribute to public debates on the topic.

Initial reports have showed that politicians are using fact checking reports as weapons to scupper their opponents and distort the truth!

You can read more about the project here.

Fact checkers’ personality traits

As a desk researcher/fact checker of educational books I have frequently been described as nit-picking. I made the mistake of putting this into a thesaurus…

“cantankerous, carping, caviling, cavillous, censorious, contrary, crabby, cross, demanding, deprecating, disparaging, exacting, exceptive, fault-finding, finicky, fussy, hypercritical, irritable, nagging, overcritical, pedantic, peevish, perverse, petulant, sarcastic, severe, testy, touchy”

Is this really me and does a fact checker need to be quite this,image uhmm, anal!?
I found an article in Psychology Today from Michael Chorost, who describes being a fact checker “like doing a doctoral defense combined with a colonoscopy.” 

The answer to my question, then, is a resounding “YES!” The attention to detail is exacting and demanding, the fault finding is pedantic and severe, to do a great job one has to be finicky and hypercritical and after a day of being all of these things can result in being touchy, cross and carping. Perhaps you’d better just ask my husband!

Fact checking in the US political media

imageA recent academic study in the United States showed a “huge growth” in journalists fact checking their news stories, specifically in the political arena. The paper “Where and Why do Journalists Fact-Check”, delivered in April at the Midwest Political Science Association conference. Amidst an apparent decline in newsroom resources and quality, a co-author of the paper described the increase in this form of quality assurance as “an “explosion” that coincides with an increased coverage of national politics as the US election draws ever closer.

Even in the UK our own election coverage earlier this month was under the critical eye of Full Fact, a specialist political news story fact check service. In this age of distrust of both the media and politics this is surely long overdue!

The resurgence of print? A book lover’s chuckle in the age of digitisation!

It is with great delight that my opening blog reports an upsurge in the sale of print books – in 2014. Yes, 2014! The Observer article, written just prior to this year’s London Book Fair examined the sales of children’s literature in print and found a rise of 9% in 2014. Remarkably, this was driven by the young (that is, those in their 20s & 30s (cough!) as well as teenagers). So it must be that young people are, mythically, glued to their tablets/iphones/e-readers/smart watches. But in their droves are putting these down for a 3cm wedge of bound paper.

The article also commented on the resurgence of Waterstones, who reported a 5% rise in sales in December 2014. Excellent! Now, like many of you I have an e-reader, which deserves pride of place in my weight-restricted aircraft carry-on bag. But that, my friends, is where my love of e-books end. Last week at JFK, awaiting a flight home to the UK, I was wandering around Hudson’s Booksellers, spotted a book I had to read and bought it.

Nothing beats the feel of paper, just as, for some people, nothing beats real tobacco, not vapour….

[Image © Huluvu424242]

New PResS Blog underway!

The new Publisher’s Research Services website is alive and developing. You can follow our regular blog posts, starting in May 2015, on books, publishing, libraries, desk research, factual accuracy and much more pertaining to our fabulous literary world.

Oh and there’s also some information on PResS and the services we offer too!