Saturday, June 28, 2003

Jayson Blair's schoolmates speak out

A group of former staffers at a school newspaper once helmed by Jayson Blair earlier this month wrote to the their school, alleging the New York Times was not the first media outlet victimized by his actions.

In a letter signed by 30 former staffers of the University of Maryland's student newspaper The Diamondback (most of whom are now journalists) the group makes specific and well-sourced allegations that Blair fabricated quotes and sources, plagiarized, and undeservedly benefited from preferential treatment from higher-ups at the journalism school, as he is now accused of doing at the Times.

If the allegations are to be believed, it seems the journalism school passed up a prime opportunity to set Blair on the straight and narrow and instead encouraged his errant behaviour by rewarding him repeatedly.

A group of Diamondback alumni will investigate Blair's reporting for a news service affiliated with the school.