Jayson Blair .com

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Updates - First posting, May 2003

On 2 May, New York Times reporter Jayson Blair resigned after it became clear he had copied huge chunks of another newspaper's story in his own.

Over a fortnight later and still it's news. Clearly, this is one of those occasions that will go down in history as a reference.

Mr Blair was fired after some rooting about by traditional rival paper The Washington Post showed he had been copying other reporters' work in his own stories.

However, it soon became clear that he had indulged in far more than a touch of plagarism: he said he was places he wasn't, spoke to people his didn't, generally made it up as he went along. His writing however was pretty good.

The big bang came though when the New York Times published an extraordinary 7,500 piece on Blair and his errors on 11 May. With hindsight, this may have been a major error, although there is no doubt at the time that the newspaper thought a mediaeval-style bleeding would get the poison out the body faster.

It has since set up on the Internet a FULL listing of every single story Blair wrote for the paper. It has also gone into excruciating detail over errors made by Blair.

Since then we have had a relentles hounding of Blair by the media. People have been asked to resign. We have had the usual accusations of drug-taking and general bad behaviour. And, as seems usual in America in these cases, some extremely dodgy and bad reporting and commentary about race


Who is Jayson Blair?

The South Asian Journalists Association had this on him on its website (which it very very quickly pulled as soon as the revelations came out).

"JAYSON BLAIR is a business reporter who covers media and technology in the New York region. In that position, he covers some of the nation's largest local media companies and New York's Silicon Alley. He has written extensively on the rise and fall of many New York Internet companies and the resulting impacts, from the failure of Urbanfetch.com to an exclusive report on apparent stock manipulation involving Fashionmall.com.

"Mr. Blair began working at The Times in 1999 and has covered a wide range of topics central to the region, including real estate, economics, law enforcement and government. He was a key member of a six-month investigation into potential corruption and mismanagement in the New York City Buildings Department that led to indictments, an ongoing grand jury investigation and the resignations of several officials.

"Mr. Blair started his career at a community newspaper in Northern Virginia, and has worked at The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, where an examination of the Massachusetts' sexual predator laws led to an overhaul of the statues regarding community notification of sexual offenders. He was hired as one of the youngest reporters at The Times in decades.

"He studied journalism and history at the University of Maryland, and attended post-graduate programs at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the Wharton School of Business.

"Mr. Blair lives in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn."

1 Jun 2004: A belated update on the ongoing NYT woes
12 Mar 2004: A review of the New York Times' upcoming book review
5 Mar 2004:
Jayson Blair's official site goes live; media frenzy begins; book details start coming out
4 Mar 2004: The New York Times runs a spoiler story on Jayson's book
12 Feb 2004: Misinformation campaign begins; Gerald Boyd threatens to bore with new media column
7 Dec 2003: Book details, including controversial slavery cover, released; real slave poster draws comparison
12 Nov 2003: Jayson goes quiet but Boyd goes academic and Stephen Glass makes the most of it; the Times hires an Ombudsman
13 Sep 2003: Blair book details come out, ends up with black sheep Michael Viner and a suspicious high reported advance; film said to be in making
22 Aug 2003: Blair's first foray back into journalism is still-born; his childhood however is detailed in length; Boyd fails miserably to address race issue
12 Jun 2003: It dawns on The Times that it's tell-all approach may not have been the best approach after all
5 Jun 2003: Boyd goes, leaving a lot of questions unanswered
May 2003: The start of it all