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NYT Apologies for Ex-Reporter`s Fraud

Posted May. 11, 2003 22:20,   


The New York Times made a public apology for journalistic fraud and plagiarism committed by a former employee. Once a star reporter, 27-year-old Jayson Blair `committed frequent acts of fraud` while working for the NYT over a period of four years before he resigned on May 1.

The paper wrote a lengthy story on the front page of its May 11 edition, saying, “After investigating 73 articles written by reporter Blair since October 2002, we found evidence of fraud and manipulation in 36 cases, including lies about whereabouts and dates in the reporting.” It added a further investigation into 300 cases is now underway.

In an editor’s note, the NYT commented that it would reveal the results of a one-week investigation done by five reporters and a research team, pointing out, “When you`re wrong in this profession, there is only one thing to do. That is get it right as fast as you can.”

The paper described the episode as "a low point in the 152-year history of the newspaper," saying "It`s an abrogation of trust between the newspaper and its readership."

Blair lied in an April 19 article about having an interview with a soldier wounded in Iraq. While he said he visited the National Navy Hospital in Maryland for the interview, it was found out that he only talked with the man on the phone from New York and fabricated most of the story about his life and family.

On April 7, Blair reported on a Cleveland church service attended by a reverend whose son had been pronounced dead in Iraq. The Times said there was no evidence Blair was at the service and that his article lifted at least six passages from other news sources, including the Washington Post.

On Oct. 30, Blair reported breaking stories about John Muhammad, one of the two sniper suspects. It was found after the investigation into expense receipts, however, that he was in the New York City, and not in Washington at the time.

Blair attended the University of Maryland and joined the Times in 1999 after an internship. In 2001, Blair was assigned to the metropolitan desk and later sent to the newspaper`s national desk in October 2002.

Kwan-Hee Hong konihong@donga.com