Geez, this is just pathetic. We can see a story or two slipping by the crack staff at the Cape Cod Times over the years, but this woman has been making up stories and inventing people since 1998?
There is an implied contract between a newspaper and its readers. The paper prints the truth. Readers believe that it’s true.
It’s not always so simple, of course. There are nuances in how a story is presented, what words are used to describe the action. Papers have personalities, and no two are exactly alike, but at the end of the day, facts are facts. And a good newspaper holds nothing more sacred than its role to tell the truth. Always. As fully and as fairly as possible.
This is our guiding principle, so it is with heavy heart that we tell you the Cape Cod Times has broken that trust. An internal review has found that one of our reporters wrote dozens of stories that included
one or more sources who do not exist.
The reporter was Karen Jeffrey, 59, a writer for the Cape Cod Times since 1981. In an audit of her work, Times editors have been unable to find 69 people in 34 stories since 1998, when we began archiving stories electronically.
On Tuesday, Jeffrey admitted to fabricating people in some of these articles and giving some others false names. She no longer works for the Cape Cod Times.
How did this happen? Or more important, how did we allow this to happen? It’s a question we cannot satisfactorily answer. Clearly we placed too much trust in a reporter and did not verify sourcing with necessary frequency.
It’s an editor’s job to scrutinize a reporter’s work and be sure what we publish is fair and accurate; at the same time, there also is a level of trust between a reporter and an editor. Reporters take this responsibility to heart and when someone treats their work with anything less than the highest ethical standards, good journalists are heartbroken. We can say with certainty that’s how we feel at the Times.
We must learn from this painful lesson and take steps to prevent this from happening again. Moving forward, we will be spot-checking reporting sources more frequently; choosing stories at random and calling sources to verify they exist.
If I’m the owners of this so-called newspaper, and it’s currently the Dow Jones Local Media Group, a subsidiary of News Corp., there would be mass dismissals, if not deciding to just shut this rag down. Who hired this woman? Who was her primary editor? Did anyone even bother to ever vet her stories?
Curiously in this message on Twitter she announced she was leaving Cape Cod, but no reason was given.
Leaving job, soon to be living in Holliston. Bye Cape Cod
— Elizabeth(@Kejeffrey) November 30, 2012
Via The H2.