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You might want to consider a scandal close to home, if there has been one in your local paper. Or you might want to try a broader one. Even though he's not really a journalist, the first thing I thought of was Greg Mortenson. He wrote an journalistic-type book, Three Cups of Tea, and is now under fire for his treatment of the facts.
One period of journalism scandal was the early 20th century, when "yellow journalism" was at its height. This type of journalism was not concerned with objectivity, fairness, or accuracy, but rather, attempted to sway the reading public to adopt a particular viewpoint. A quick Google search about "yellow journalism" should really help here. Hopefully this post isn't too late...
When I hear the words NEWSPAPER and SCANDAL, I am automatically reminded of a reporter by the name or Jack Kelly.Kelly was a veteran reporter and 5-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize. His career spanned 21-years and according to his stories, he had done things that any reporter worth his salt would love to have on his resume. He had gone hunting for Osama Bin Laden, interviewed Egyptian terrorists and had coffee with a would-be suicide bomber.
However, in January of 2004, Jack Kelly resigned from his position with USA Today after editors began to investigate the authenticity of his stories. As it turned out, about 100 of the 750 stories that Kelly had written were fabricated.
Initially, Kelly denied any wrongdoing, even going so far as to get translators to support his falsehoods. When all was said and done, Kelly was not only found guilty, but his career was tarnished (some would say beyond repair). As for his Pulitzer Prize nominations, USA Today submitted retractions to the committee on his behalf.
A you may also want to research Janet Cooke. Cooke was employed with the Washington Post and won a Pulitzer Prize in Journalism (1981) for her story about a little boy named 'Jimmy'. Supposedly, Jimmy was an 8-year-old heroin addict. Jimmy's tale tugged at the hearts of readers including Detroit Mayor Marion Barry , who launched an all-out search for the child addict. Of course, the search was unsuccessful. turned out Jimmy and his story was pure fiction.
Cooke's fiction did not stop at Jimmy. She had also lied on her resume. Shamed, Cooke resigned from her position with the Washington Post and her Pulitzer was returned.
In 2003, The New York Times reporter Jayson Blair resigned after being confronted with evidence of fabricating quotations and details in at least 36 articles. The incident shook the journalism community, given that many journalists regard the Times as the nation's most prestigious newspaper.
Scrutiny quickly fell on executive editor Howell Raines, and to a lesser extent managing editor Gerald M. Boyd, that showed the duo had fast-tracked Blair for promotion, despite warnings from other employees about Blair's erratic behavior and high error rate.
Times'Metro editor Jonathan Landman wrote in an e-mail to Raines that the paper "...need[ed] to stop Jayson from writing for the Times. Right now." On June 5, 2003, Raines and Boyd resigned as a result of this scandal.
New York Times, "Correcting the Record: Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception," the Times story investigating Blair's actions, May 11, 2003
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