After Jonah Lehrer was caught fabricating Bob Dylan quotes in his book “Imagine,” Salon’s David Daley turned to former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair for his thoughts on the scandal. “Journalism is a profession that’s built on this notion of trust,” says the former journalist who plagiarized and fabricated at the Times. (He’s now a $130/hour life coach.) “I think fundamentally because of this trust in each other, our colleagues and our friends, we’re very slow to realize that any of us, under the right pressure, is capable of anything. …Once you’re young and successful, I think, in this profession you’re only as good as your last story — and you want every story to be better.”
What is Lehrer feeling today? Blair is asked.
I think on one hand he probably feels a sense of relief. On the other, a lot of sadness — sadness for losing his ability to be in a profession which by all accounts he valued, and sadness at disappointing the people who gave him a chance, and his friends and colleagues. The other emotion I would guess he’s feeling is the shock. It seems so incongruous to feel all of those things at the same time, but I’m sure he is feeling both sadness and relief.
What would Blair tell Lehrer?
Redemption is possible, and perhaps the best way to find that redemption — and, more importantly, peace — is to learn lessons from your experience and be able to help others through those lessons.
It’s rough. Very few people enter this profession wanting to do harm or damage to it. It’s heartbreaking to do it because you value it; I still feel as if journalism is my first love. The idea of losing the ability to be in the profession is bad, but the truly hard part is knowing you’ve done damage to the trust that people have in the profession.
* Jayson Blair: Jonah Lehrer’s story reminds me of my own (Salon.com)
* Robert Wright: Lehrer could resurface because “America is actually a pretty forgiving place” (The Atlantic)
* New Yorker says it doesn’t plan to pull Lehrer’s posts from its website (WWD.com)
* “A guy who looks cute and wonky is better positioned to get away with this than others” (NYTimes.com)
Dayton Daily News Newspaper Guild members ratified a one-year contract agreement on Monday, which the guild says breaks one of the longest labor standoffs in the nation. The guild and Cox — owner of the Dayton newspaper — last came to terms in 1986, says the union release. The union president says:
There are many people who said this dispute would never be settled, but it has been. This contract balances the company’s need for flexibility in a changing media environment against traditional protections our members count on.
Read the release after the jump. Read More
The Fargo Forum, which was criticized last week for rejecting a lesbian couple’s wedding announcement, says it’s changed its policy and will now accept same-sex marriage notices.
Editor Matt Von Pinnon says that until last week the paper had never received a marriage notice from a gay couple planning to legally marry.
In the uproar over our refusal to publish that announcement, we heard from more than 600 people in our area and beyond who shared their opinions about our policy. It’s safe to say that people in our region are equally divided over the issue of gay marriage, a debate that goes well beyond the question of whether this newspaper should publish such announcements. …
In the end, however, this policy review came down to one thing: We inform the public, plain and simple. Except for what’s found on the Opinion page, we don’t choose sides. We report on many, many things that we neither endorse nor condemn. That’s the nature of news. Some people would like us to deny that gay marriage is legally recognized in several states and countries. To not recognize that fact is to deny or distort the truth, something we’re not willing to do.
* The Forum will publish all legal marriage notices (Inforum.com)
* Newspaper will publish same-sex newspaper ads (CNN)
* Allison Johnson and Kelsey Smith will get their wedding notice published after all (ontopmag.com)
* Earlier: You betcha the Fargo Forum won’t take your same-sex wedding notice (JimRomenesko.com)
The Independent’s Los Angeles bureau chief Guy Adams “has carved out a nice spot on the how-much-NBC’s-coverage-sucks beat,” writes John Koblin, and the newsman is now paying a price for that: Twitter suspended Adams’ account after NBC complained that a network exec’s email address was posted.
Dan Gillmor points out: “What makes this a serious issue is that Twitter has partnered with NBC during the Olympics. And it was NBC’s complaint about Adams that led to the suspension.”
Some of Adams’ tweets:
– Matt Lauer would do well to shut up, wouldn’t he?
– Techcrunch call @NBColympics total buffoons http://t.co/1DYypK0T Sums up why Gary Zenkel, moronic exec behind the time delay, shd be fired
– “Sneak peak” my arse MT @NBCOlympics: Check out this sneak peek of tonight’s #OpeningCeremony http://t.co/vf7KKMf9
– America’s left coast forced to watch Olympic ceremony on SIX HOUR time delay. Disgusting money-grabbing by @NBColympics http://t.co/bQxKCCdj
– I have 1000 channels on my TV. Not one will be showing the Olympics opening ceremony live. Because NBC are utter, utter bastards.
– The man responsible for NBC pretending the Olympics haven’t started yet is Gary Zenkel. Tell him what u think! Email: Gary.firstname.lastname@example.org
* NBC’s No. 1 tweeting critic has been suspended from Twitter (Deadspin.com)
* Guy Adams: “I’m still trying to get to bottom of the hows and whys of my suspension” (independent.co.uk)
* Denver Post reporter says his “horny covering the Olympics” tweet was a mistake (Westword)
The Washington Post has received a $500,000 Ford Foundation grant to fund four new newsroom positions and expand the paper’s government-accountability reporting.
Here’s the memo:
From: Marcus Brauchli
Date: Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 2:22 PM
Subject: A grant from the Ford Foundation
To: NEWS – All Newsroom
To the Staff:
We are pleased to announce that the Ford Foundation has awarded a $500,000
grant to The Washington Post to expand its government-accountability
reporting at the national and local levels. The grant will be used to fund
four new newsroom positions to work on special projects related to money,
politics and government. The Foundation’s support enables us to build on
one of our central missions, and the terms of the grant give us complete
The one-year grant–with an agreement in principle for two additional years
–is part of the Foundation’s Freedom of Expression program, an initiative
aimed at promoting journalism in the public interest. This program supports
nonprofits, such as ProPublica and National Public Radio, and recently made
a grant to the Los Angeles Times. (The Ford Foundation is not connected to
the Ford Motor Company.)
Assistant Managing Editor Jeff Leen will supervise the work of this new
team, working with editors on other staffs. Its work will augment the work
of Jeff’s investigative unit, which remains a centerpiece of The Post’s
Marcus Liz John Shirley
Jonah Lehrer says in a statement:
Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book ‘Imagine.’ The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes. But I told Mr. Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr. Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said.
The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers. I also owe a sincere apology to Mr. Moynihan. I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed. I have resigned my position as staff writer at The New Yorker.
* Jonah Lehrer resigns from New Yorker after making up Dylan quotes for his book (NYTimes.com)
* Celebrated journalist fabricated Dylan quotes in his new book (Tabletmag.com)
* Tablet blogger: “I’m not somebody who desires to nail a scalp to the wall” (observer.com)
JONAH LEHRER TIMELINE:
* June 19: Romenesko tipster notices Lehrer’s New Yorker post borrows from earlier WSJ piece
* June 20: Lehrer apologizes for recycling his material, says “it was a stupid thing to do”
* June 20: Questions about Lehrer’s reporting were raised in 2009
* June 21: David Remnick says the New Yorker isn’t dropping Lehrer
* June 21: Wired is reviewing 300 of Lehrer’s blog posts
* June 23: “I didn’t have a fiendish plan to bust Jonah Lehrer,” says Romenesko tipster
* July 17: Why hasn’t Lehrer returned to the New Yorker? (He’s working on a story, mag says)
“You can see the editorial thought process at work. What kind of cover story could create the sort of pop that the classic ‘Wimp Factor’ cover did? Then inspiration struck: How about another ‘Wimp Factor’ cover?” — Jonathan Chait
* Newsweek puts Romney on latest and possibly last “Wimp Factor” cover (New York)
Finally, some news about a publication adding staffers, not laying them off! “I’m excited to announce the hiring of three new reporters, who will play key roles in ramping up our coverage of the film and television industries and giving our readers the best entertainment report in the business,” writes Los Angeles Times arts and entertainment editor John Corrigan.
His memo is after the jump. Read More