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In press nomenclature, a factoid is a block of text that editors place
before a story. They are used with stories that use personal
anecdotes and other mushy leads. Usually, they consist of the
most vital statistics taken right out of the story. Their purpose is to
satisfy readers who expect traditional summary leads. I don't know why
the dictionary discredits their validity. It is more important to check
a factoid than it is to check a buried fact becasue of its prominence
with respect to the story. Checking factoids is the first job of a fact