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Guidance: Keep Adding 'According To' Or Other Attribution To al-Baghdadi Reports

Our coverage since President Trump announced that ISIS leaded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead has been strong, compelling, fast and informative. Many thanks.

We've done well so far to attribute what is being said about what happened to the main source of that information – President Trump. We need to keep doing that. Don't make it seem as if "we" know exactly what happened. We should note that NPR, like other media, has not independently verified the details laid out by the president.

Remember, the "facts" may change. There are still details about the death of Osama bin Laden, for instance, that are in dispute.

Related note: As stories such as this evolve, it is tempting to refer to details that turn out to be wrong as having been "fake news." That's a term we should not use. It has become a cudgel used against the media whenever critics don't like what is being reported. Honest mistakes made in the course of reporting breaking news are not "fake news."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.