CJ McKinney, Legal Writer, Full Fact
What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I'm a legal writer for Full Fact
. We're a charity, set up in 2010 to carry out fact-checking - a relatively recent concept in this jurisdiction, but an established contribution to public debate in places like the United States. Day-to-day, this involves me researching claims made about the law by politicians, the media and pressure groups, and writing about whether or not they're correct. The grandparents reportedly deemed 'too old to adopt
' is a good example on the family law side.
We'll also try to get a correction to the record if a particular claim is demonstrably wrong.
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
About a year. I've always worked with charities but studied law, so it seemed like quite a good fit.
What are the people you work for/with like? Any memorable stories?
It's quite a young organisation, and, accordingly, casual in dress and culture. That doesn't extend to research standards of course, so sometimes you feel guilty about interrupting people when they're deep in concentration on a tricky topic, writing to a deadline. I'm lucky that Joshua Rozenberg advises us on legal work, which is a big help as he comes with a great deal of experience and a high reputation.
We sometimes get asked to do broadcast appearances, and a local BBC radio programme asked me on last month to talk about some work I'd done on asylum support
. I spent half the night prepping for it, but they never called. When I got in touch to ask what had changed, they thought I was mad - it was BBC Radio Cumbria, and half the county was underwater that morning...
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
The worst part is just after an article goes out, typically at lunchtime or in the evening. We've got an image as the arbiters of accuracy in some ways, so the nervousness about whether you've managed to make a howling error never quite goes away - even though it hasn't happened so far.
The early morning media monitoring shift we do on rotation might be the best - it's quite relaxing.