NY Times Reporter Faking Stories ...

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Aurel Savin, May 11, 2003.

  1. Aurel Savin

    Aurel Savin Supporting Actor

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    Interesting and somewhat disturbing story in the Sunday NY Times today about a staff reporter that faked major stories for over 5 months.

    http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/Northeast...ter/index.html


    Something came to mind and there is a question I have for you after reading this story.

    It is mentioned in the CNN article that the reporter was initially an Intern and was hired by the paper full time based on his claim that he finished college, when in reality he still had a year left before graduating.

    I found this interesting as I am a college graduate and the few jobs I have had since graduation in 1993, I was always "asked" about my college studies, but was never asked to furnish proof of graduation.

    Did any one of you have ever had to furnish proof of graduation for a job or most employers "just take your word for it" and look at your resume as gospel?

    I know in certain countries in Europe you basically have to go to a job interview with a copy of your College Diploma.
     
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I wonder if the reporter argued, "You take the pictures and I'll write the stories."
     
  3. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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  4. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > Did any one of you have ever had to furnish proof of graduation

    The employer is more likely to contact the school directly if they want to check. People could make themselves a fake diploma.

    And CNN reporting on someone else's journalistic integrity is rather interesting. [​IMG]
     
  5. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Here in Venezuela most serious companies ask for copies of everything from your birth certificate to your HS diploma to your college diploma. I did work at an ad agency where they didn't ask for any of it, but only because the owner's a family friend, so he knew I met the requirements.
     
  6. MikeAlletto

    MikeAlletto Cinematographer

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    What I'd really like to know is how did the editor let these stories get printed in the first place? Do they not fact check anymore? I always thought the articles were submitted, researched, checked, and then the editor has the final say whether it gets printed or not. So how did blatently false articles get past the editor and all the other checks and balances? You would think the editor is also responsible.
     
  7. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    The full NYT website article lays it out: How a single newspaper reporter can dishonestly practice his craft in the field and submission of his work, staring his editor in the eye and lying. This can happen because daily newspapering operates on a basis of mutual trust and written or unwritten journalistic standards.

    Most people want to regard “the media” as a monolithic enterprise. It is not. Speaking for newspapering, my former profession, the work of a reporter is almost akin to that of an independent scientific investigator, or perhaps a doctor, who adhere to a code of ethics, a set of standards, a sense of integrity that is personal but not enforced by any professional police.

    Magazines like The New Yorker have enough lead time to employ actual fact checkers; newspapers do not. It is left to the reporter to do this and he/she is trusted. Remember that most newspapers operate in a hometown environment and it doesn’t take long for fact cheating to surface in the community of readers and newspaper editors who hear about it. The NYT however operates nationally, almost like the Associated Press service, here today, there tomorrow, a different story, different cast of characters each day. This is how the 27 yr-old- NYT reporter got away with his sloppy deceptions.

    Unlike Science Publishing, there is no advance or even post-publication peer review. Each day brings a new story in newspapering.

    It’s my opinion that this young man got into the big time before paying dues at smaller newspapers. He quickly felt the pressure of being part of a SERIOUS newspaper, a national leader as it were. When deadline pushed, he fudged and got away with it. It snowballed on him.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we begin to deceive.

    He was (or is) a nice kid with a happy newsroom demeanor by all accounts. This just made it easier for his sloppy work (corrections of fact needed) to escalate to made-up “facts” Under deadline pressure.

    What a tragedy for newspapering. But it exposes how honorably the majority of daily reporters go about their business of fact gathering and writing in a field of mutual trust.
     
  8. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Let's see, how much have I been investigated....

    Job X: had to have transcripts of undergrad and grad degrees sent. Had to survive a security clearance check including a 6-hour "deep lifestyle" polygraph exam.

    Current job: employer checked with my state bar and the PTO about my license status. Had to "pee in a cup" for drug testing.

    Employers are getting much more into checking up on potential employees these days.
     
  9. Tommy Ceez

    Tommy Ceez Second Unit

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  10. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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  11. MickeS

    MickeS Producer

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    Did you guys watch "60 Minutes" last night? They ran a similar story, about a reporter who faked his articles for The New Republic. He even went through great lengths to set up fake memos, voicemails, e-mails, websites and so on for the fact checkers.

    I too would bet that this is unfortunately more common than we'd hope.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/...in552819.shtml
     
  12. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    It appears that the editor was definitely a contributing factor in this charade. From the Chicago Tribune:

    The least credible and complete portion of the Times' account is its categorical denial that the unusual tolerance and solicitude the paper accorded Blair, who is African American, had anything to do with his race. Like other major American news organizations, the Times has in recent years made strenuous efforts to compensate for the decades of discrimination that kept women and minority reporters out of their newsrooms. The New York Times, in particular, has had demonstrable difficulties recruiting and retaining black reporters and editors.

    The Times report is candid about the severe criticisms directed at Blair by the two metropolitan editors — Joyce Purnick and Jonathan Landman — prior to his assignment to the paper's national staff. It is less forthcoming about the close mentor-protégé relationship that apparently existed between Blair and the Times' managing editor, Gerald Boyd, who also is African American. By the Times' account, Boyd was head of a committee that recommended Blair be hired, despite the reservations of other editors. Boyd, along with Raines, pushed the inexperienced reporter with a poor record onto the prestigious national staff.

    What the Times does not note is that in 2001 it was the tyro Blair who nominated Boyd for the National Assn. of Black Journalists' journalist of the year award for his role in producing the Pulitzer Prize-winning series "How Race Is Lived in America." When Boyd subsequently was promoted to managing editor, according to sources at the Times, Blair was selected to write the announcement for the paper's in-house newsletter.

    While opponents of newsroom diversity are bound to make much of these facts, they stand just as strongly as an argument for making sure that women and minorities are represented in appropriate numbers. It may be that the paucity of black reporters at the Times led editors there to make extraordinary — and ultimately disastrous — accommodations for a clearly troubled young reporter.
     
  13. Tommy Ceez

    Tommy Ceez Second Unit

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  14. Daren Welsh

    Daren Welsh Supporting Actor

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    Rosebud....
     
  15. Tommy Ceez

    Tommy Ceez Second Unit

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  16. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    So is the NYT reporter actually in legal trouble with this or is it just going to be swept under the rug?
     
  17. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    No, Mr. Blair resigned the 1st of May, the day he was asked to meet in an editor's office with his account receipts. The NYT subequently released a copy of a message from Blair stating he was seeking professional help, and left it at that.

    Technically, his employer could sue him for fraud -- accepting his salary for work not actually performed -- but no journalistic company in this position has yet turned on an ex-employee im this fashion.

    I am just observing that 4 full pages of"mea culpa" by the NYT investigative team printed Sunday isnt exactly sweeping anything under the rug, as far as Blair is concerned.

    The Monday-morning blogger network seems to be turning the heat on exec editor Howell Raines and two other top managers who allowed Blair to skate so long, and given so many chances, while they had knowledge of his sloppy work habits.
     
  18. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    I'm glad to see the investigating team wanting to have someone held accountable for this kind of crap.
     
  19. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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  20. Tommy Ceez

    Tommy Ceez Second Unit

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    Now the story of Blairs relationship with Raines' wifes friends daughter who gave him access to the Times photos (which he used to fake details of stories) is coming to light. JUST WHAT THIS STORY NEEDED, SEXUAL INTRIGUE!
     

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