Friday, June 27, 2014

Every Fact Counts

This past Monday, while everyone else was easing into the work week, I was running around Times Square in search of a 64 oz. bottle of laundry detergent.

As an intern at Real Simple for the last four weeks, I’ve learned that accuracy is a priority for the magazine. Most facts are pretty easy to confirm. The spelling of a name? A quick phone call. A person’s professional title? An official website will suffice. But when an expert recommended a specific detergent that she prefers because of its smaller length and width than other bottles, I knew I had to get creative. That's how I found myself at the Duane Reade on the corner of 51st St. and 7th Ave. with a measuring tape in hand (the intern gods were on my side—I coincidentally had a tape measure in my bag that day), receiving a handful of weird looks.

It may seem trivial to put so much effort into such a small fact, but it just proves the importance of being factually correct is still alive in the magazine world—an industry that is sometimes misrepresented as a gossip mill. As the weeks at Real Simple have gone by, I’ve realized the purpose of a women’s service magazine is to actually be of service, which can only be done if the information we share is accurate.

The thing I love most about Real Simple is the compassion that each and every staff member has for the readers. Sure, I crave the excitement of covering a red carpet event that some of my peers get to experience. But then I imagine one Real Simple woman poring over the magazine to ease her anxieties during the planning stages of her Fourth of July barbecue and another seeing a response to the question she wrote in that begged for help with her obnoxious mother-in-law.

These women see Real Simple as their BFF, the one source they can confide in that totally will not judge them for questioning the difference between chiffon and dupioni silk (and whether each fabric is machine washable). The fact that I get to spend my internship making sure the information we give these women is truthful makes confirming every single fact—no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential—worth it.

-Written by Lindsey Murray, Temple University, Real Simple
-Edited by Kristin Doherty, Drake University, The Knot

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