Jayson Blair has become a famous name in the journalism industry for all the wrong reasons. In 2003, an investigation began that eventually uncovered that Blair, who was an intermediate reporter for The New York Times, had been plagiarizing his stories.
While in college at the University of Maryland, Blair was the editor-in-cheif of The Diamondback, the school newspaper. During his time as the editor, he made four serious errors that caused the students to question his integrity, however these mistakes were all overlooked by the owners of the paper. He spent a summer interning with the Times and took a job there the following November. The Times national editor Jim Roberts called Blair on April 28, 2003 to discuss the similarities between a story he had written two days earlier and one published by the San Antonio Express-News on April 18, 2003, written by Macarena Hernandez. Hernandez had worked with Blair as an intern at the Times and then went on to write for the Express-News. The discovery of this plagiarism led to many more details of Blair’s phony journalism, like claiming he went on-location to cover stories but instead he simply took the information from other sources to make it appear like he was there. He claimed quotes that were not his and wrote several false statements that were published.
Blair is an example of what not to do as a journalist. He was lazy, and thought he could spend his career doing half-ass work and getting away with it. The New York Times is one of the best news sources in our country and he tarnished their reputation with lazy journalism. For months he was claiming other reporters works as his own from other papers and reusing quotes and false information to create his stories. It is important that journalists always have good integrity and write their own words and no one else’s. I think all aspiring journalists can learn a lesson from Jayson Blair on how not to act as a professional journalist. You can see his side of the story on his website.