But of all the above offerings, I have to say that none of them rank as the most notable quote from a year’s worth of columns. That distinction goes to Axel Pult, a former fact checker who is now the deputy head of the checking and research department at Der Spiegel in Germany. While visiting their offices earlier this year to attend a fact checking conference, I discovered that the venerable German weekly is home to a remarkable checking operation. Here’s what Pult told me when I asked him about the size of the operation:

There are seventy people checking the facts, but also some people are working on handling the database and doing indexing, and stuff like that. It’s almost 100 people, although … some of the people only work part-time. It’s not 100 people working full-time. You can say about eighty full-time jobs.

Eighty full-time jobs for fact checkers and researchers! Nine months later, I still can’t believe it. Perhaps that’s a nice thought to enter the new year with. See you in 2011.

Correction of the Week

“A front-page story Sunday about a Buchanan High School wrestler accused of sexual battery said the ‘butt drag’ maneuver involves a wrestler putting fingers in his rival’s anus to get leverage. There’s no formal definition of the move, but coaches say it involves grabbing the butt cheek of a rival. Coaches vary on how often anal penetration occurs, but they say that it should never be intentional. The move does not involve skin-on-skin contact; the wrestler practicing the move is pushing his fingers against his opponent’s uniform.

“In addition, stories about the case on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday incorrectly said the wrestler had been expelled. He has been suspended pending an expulsion hearing.” - Fresno Bee

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Craig Silverman is the editor of RegretTheError.com and the author of Regret The Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech. He is also the editorial director of OpenFile.ca and a columnist for the Toronto Star.