April 17th, the day that my friend told me the round about would be open. Finally, I have been waiting for this day for three months. Instantly I took to social media to proclaim to everyone within shouting distance the date it would be open. It didn't occur to me to look up the validity of the date on the county web page or google references that may have been in local media. Someone said it, therefore it must be true.
It didn't take more than fifteen minutes for the text alerts to blow up my phone with my pronounced inaccuracies. The date was actually May 1st and although I spoke two weeks early, it incensed enough people within egg throwing distance to encourage me to sheepishly delete my post.
Fact checking is A-#1 in the journalism world. A world I spent much time in during grad school. Although, you might not believe it after watching the six o'clock news, journalists are supposed to validate the quality of information before disseminating it to the public. Along with referencing sources, giving credit to the author and not plagiarizing, it serves as the backbone of an ethical professional.
Of course, these qualities should be the backbone of any professional in any industry. Unfortunately, in the name of entertainment they are often... not.
I was at a breakfast meeting with a large group of moms last year. Upon arrival I found out that our keynote speaker was a gentleman in the financial services industry. Being in the industry and lacking the enthusiasm to pay attention, I sat back with my coffee and phone, wishing that I had made a dentist appointment that morning.
While multi-tasking as a listener and cleaning out my spam folder, I found that I was actually entertained. Not informed, entertained. At the conclusion of the event several of my friends asked me what my take was on the information provided. Unfortunately, I wasn't in a position to rally the savvy suggestions of our entertainer. Not because I'm in the industry but because I had done my fact checking while he was talking. The sharp dressed public speaker throwing out quips to a room full of giggling moms-acting-like-school-girls wasn't even licensed in the industry.
The deer in headlights looks that I received from my educated friends spoke volumes. No one understands that anyone can talk about anything they want. It's only the licensed professionals who are held accountable for the advice they give you. This public speaking, radio show hosting dude with a local Kardashian level following won't be held liable for the suggestions he is giving unsuspecting listeners, ever.
Knowledge is only wisdom when it is used correctly. While I have my personal bias after being around countless industry professionals for the last thirteen years, I am hopeful those women went home and validated the information before taking action on the generic suggestions. Even if the content of his presentation was valid, each persons situation is unique.