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Sports writer makes up quotes, is fired

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Read and weep, May 2, 2014.

  1. Read and weep

    Read and weep Member

    Saw this on Romenesko. Did this writer not think the coach might notice the made-up quotes? What an idiot!

    This ran in Thursday’s Norwich Bulletin print edition sports section. It was not online.


    Last week, a local high school coach notified The Bulletin that quotes attributed to him in a game story that appeared in our paper and website were not his.notes He said that he had never spoken to the sports reporter. The reporter has admitted that he fabricated the quotes, and he is no longer employed at The Bulletin.

    Our readers need to know that what we present in our pages and online is completely accurate and fair, and has been thoroughly reviewed by our reporters and editors. GateHouse Media, the parent company of The Bulletin, has a clear ethics policy that has been in place for years and on which all staff members are trained. As a result of this incident, we will be reviewing our quality assurance procedures.

    Still, there are times when we fall short. When that happens, we need to own it, correct it and alert readers as fast as possible. And, in rare circumstances, such as last week, go even further.
  2. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Well that explains this:
  3. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    "The Bulletin, located in historic Eastern Connecticut, is looking for a sports staffer who can do it all ... "

    Well, I guess, except for that.
  4. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    And they don't name the writer or say they are investigating his body of work.
  5. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    I seem to remember something like this happening several years ago at the Sacramento Bee. Some veteran writer was supposed to cover a Giants game and instead watched it on TV and made up quotes.
  6. bigbadeagle

    bigbadeagle Member

    We had this happen where I worked about 13 years ago. A couple of coaches called to complain and one told my boss he didn't have a problem with the quotes attributed to him, it was just that he never talked to our guy. My boss tells me what's happened and I say you know you have to cut him loose. I could tell he knew what he had to do but had never had to do that before. After the blade fell, we got the rest of the staff together and told them that making up stuff just won't fly, not that we had to worry about with the rest of the guys.
  7. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    If you're going to make up quotes, at least do it when you've actually talked to the guy. That way, you can claim his memory is to blame.
  8. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    Have they named the writer yet?
  9. Decadent

    Decadent New Member

    So then you'd be a fabulist, a liar, and a character assassin, all at the same time. Plus, you'd burn your chances of the coach ever talking to you again. Great advice!
  10. Liut

    Liut Active Member

    I'm of the opinion that the making up of quotes goes on a lot more than many of us would like to think.
  11. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Agree 100 percent. Had more than one source in my days say things like, "Just put something down that makes me sound good" and then be surprised when I'd say it doesn't work like that.

    I think the bigger problem is when entire people are made up, with quotes and backstory, for feature-type stories, that happen to fit the narrative perfectly.

    I'd like to know who this guy is in Norwich. And I'm sure any potential future employers would appreciate his name being out there, too.
  12. Liut

    Liut Active Member

    To your first point, I'm guessing you gained respect from some of those sources for standing by your beliefs.

    To your second, I'm not so naïve to think that type of fiction doesn't happen but I simply cannot fathom the thought of doing it.
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