The Norwich (Connecticut) Bulletin published quotes by a high school coach. The problem was that the coach was never interviewed by their sports writer. The quotes were faked. The newspaper only found out after the coach called to complain.
In response, according to a note from Bulletin‘s editor, the sports reporter was fired.
The note was not published on the newspaper’s website, but Jim Romenesko published it in full including an image of a portion of the print version.
The Norwich Bulletin is a daily newspaper owned by Gatehouse Media with a circulation of about 16,000 copies according to Mondo Times.
The editor’s note from executive editor James Konrad said that the Bulletin found out about the fabrication when the coach in question contacted the paper.
“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,” Konrad’s note says.
“He said that he had never spoken to the sports reporter,” the editor’s note stated. “The reporter has admitted that he fabricated the quotes, and he is no longer employed at The Bulletin.”
The note did not name the reporter in question or what other measures the newspaper took regarding that reporter’s work.
The note added, “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.”
iMediaEthics looked up GateHouse Media’s ethics code. It advises in part,
“We believe our role in our community is to tell the truth — to tell accurately, clearly, fairly and in context what is going on so that readers know and can act upon matters that affect their lives. We are dedicated to the truthful, accurate and thorough reporting of news and information in all presentations of our material in news stories, opinion columns, editorials and visual elements across multiple platforms. We do not plagiarize or misstate our identities.”
iMediaEthics has written to Konrad multiple times for more information about this incident, including to ask:
- who’s the reporter?
- how long had the reporter worked for the paper?
- and if the paper would or had investigated the rest of the reporter’s work to protect its readers?
We’ll update with any additional information.