Jim Haner is a star writer at the Baltimore Sun, lauded for his intrepid reporting.
But David Simon, a former Sun reporter and author of Homicide, says Haner's mistakes compromise the paper's integrity -- and that Haner's editors don't
don't know why it galls me so much," says David Simon, the author of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, the book that launched the NBC television series, and a creator of HBO's recent miniseries The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood. But "here comes somebody who's doing something I consider to be antithetical to what I was taught about journalism. It bothers the hell out of me."
It's a brutally humid day in downtown Baltimore, and Simon, a hulking, bald, one-earringed father of one, sits at a café near his home, absentmindedly brushing vegan cookie crumbs off the table as he tries to explain his problem with Jim Haner, a reporter at Simon's journalistic alma mater, The Sun. Simon left the Sun in 1995 after 13 years and joined Homicide as a staff writer. Although Haner isn't a national name, his editors consider him one of the Sun's stars; to Simon, he's a black cloud over the paper. Haner came to the Sun shortly before Simon left, and Simon says he's tarnished the paper's journalistic luster.
Although Simon claims to treasure the paper where he made his name as a journalist, he clearly has a complicated and possessive relationship with it. Why, after hitting the proverbial Big Time, with two highly acclaimed books, a prime-time television show, and fat paychecks to his credit, does Simon still worry so much about the place he left behind? "What makes me bitter," he says, "is I have a book full of clips from the Sun, which represents my life's work in journalism. They are all worth less every time a story appears that isn't accurate and in context."
Just as Simon was, Haner is a favorite at the Sun, a reporter known for his intrepid research and colorful storytelling. His articles, many of which have run on the front page, have covered everything from lead paint poisoning to Pimlico, and have established Haner's as a well-known voice in Baltimore. He has specialized in exposing the perils of drug-plagued neighborhoods, the criminal neglect of slumlords, the heart-wrenching struggles of the downtrodden. "In these neighborhoods," Haner wrote in a 1995 story about a 10-year-old accused of dealing drugs, "where children drift and swirl like wind-blown leaves -- disappearing under the bumpers of speeding cars and in the paths of errant bullets and into the maw of Juvenile Services -- Issac is one of the kids people remember."
But to Simon and to some others who still work in the Sun newsroom, Haner has also made some serious gaffes since he joined the paper seven years ago. These detractors point to mistakes and embellishments over Haner's tenure there, and claim that not only do the Sun's editors seem unconcerned about them but that such errors undermine the paper's credibility.
Indeed, Simon says he brought his concerns to Brill's Content only after failing to get the attention of the Sun's upper management. "My first instinct was not to pick up the phone and call Brill's but to call the publisher [Michael Waller], whom I didn't even know. I said, 'If this matters to you, call me back.'" Waller, who referred that call to the Sun's editor then, John Carroll, doesn't mince words when discussing Simon. "Mr. Vindictive himself," the publisher says, asserting that Simon is a "biased source" because he left the Sun on bitter terms. "I don't know what this is all about; it seems much ado about nothing."
And in fact, Haner's colleagues -- the friendly and suspicious alike -- paint him as a talented, hungry reporter who has done important work. He is variously described as imposing, indefatigable, and arrogant. Dick Cooper, his journalism instructor at Temple University (and later his editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer), calls Haner "one of the best students that I had" for his passion and insight. Haner, who chose journalism after a tour in the U.S. Navy, wrote for The Record, in Bergen County, New Jersey; The Virginian-Pilot, in Norfolk; The Miami Herald; and the Inquirer before landing at the Sun. Although he left the paper briefly when his wife, also a reporter, got a job at The New York Times, he returned in 1998.
Haner refuses to meet with me, but he does take my calls. His outrage over the fact that this story is being written is unmistakable. When I e-mail him the allegations made against him to give him the opportunity to respond to each one, he instead challenges me to reprint my questions in full: "Against a 15-year career of relatively unblemished service at five newspapers -- and numerous on-the-record testimonials as to my reputation and integrity from people of sterling character inside and outside journalism circles," he writes, "your interrogatory bespeaks a certain recklessness and lack of impartiality that many of your readers might find disturbing."
Haner himself seems to be a recipient of a measure of partiality at the Sun, which, though it toils doggedly in the shadow of The Washington Post, is widely considered one of the country's top newspapers. He was recruited by the editorial regime composed of respected Philadelphia Inquirer alumni Carroll, who recently left the Sun to head the Los Angeles Times, and associate managing editor William Marimow, now the Sun's editor, who knew Haner's work from the Inquirer.
When Haner arrived at the Sun, the paper was still in the throes of a sometimes fractious editorial transition. By all accounts, Carroll and Marimow brought in some world-class reporters and made the Sun a smarter paper. But in their early days especially, there was tension; some Sun veterans felt the Philadelphia Inquirer veterans (Carroll hired a number of reporters from that paper) thought the old Baltimore crew needed to learn a thing or two.
Haner was a clear new-guard favorite, touted for his energy, ambition, and florid prose. He was not shy about his talents: "'The Number One thing I want to do is win a Pulitzer [Prize] and beat The Washington Post every day,'" one reporter recalls Haner saying. "[He said,] 'I'll go and meet the Post halfway up [Interstate] 95 and duke it out with them in the street.'"
Although Simon and Haner overlapped for only a short time at the Sun, that was long enough for Simon to become suspicious of Haner's reporting. Simon's concerns came to be shared by reporters at the Sun, who would not give their names for fear of backlash from Haner's editors and who, it should be noted, are all part of the pre-Philadelphia team. They know their suspicions sound spiteful, but they stress that Carroll and Marimow's other star recruits are beyond reproach and have enhanced the paper. Marimow is wary of the detractor's -- Simon's -- motivations. "There are rivalries, petty squabbles, jealousies," he says. "Whoever is challenging [Haner's] integrity, I would ask that person to come and talk to me face to face. Because I think it's disgraceful....Jim Haner has a passion for stories that make a difference and he has excellent reportorial and writing skills. The kind of work he's done at the Sun is, as far as I'm concerned, in the finest traditions of what we do." He is baffled by Simon's crusade. "This is someone that for some reason feels malice toward the paper."
James Asher, the editor to whom Haner reports, is less diplomatic: "He ought to go see a therapist," he says of Simon. "He's much better suited to writing fiction for television." Although Marimow remains skeptical of Simon's motives, he respects him as a journalist. Asher, however, believes Simon is waging a one-man smear campaign. "Jim Haner has done wonderful journalism over the course of more than a decade," says Asher. "He's a fine reporter and he's made some mistakes....Jim Haner doesn't make it up. Jim Haner is doing a class of journalism that nobody in this newspaper did before."
On Saturday, January 22, 2000, the Sun ran a front-page story headlined "Governor promises city more money to fight lead." Haner shared the byline with Timothy B. Wheeler, but Wheeler's contributions were minimal -- it was Haner's story and his beat. For the past year or so, Haner had been hammering away to great effect at Baltimore's lead paint crisis -- a reported 1,200 children poisoned annually in the city. Haner wrote that "Gov. Parris N. Glendening arrived in Baltimore yesterday on a fact-finding mission into the city's epidemic of lead-poisoned children." Haner reported that the governor was confronted by a well-known community activist, the Bishop Douglas Miles, who, according to Haner, gave Glendening "an earful."
"'I told him two of my grandchildren have been lead poisoned in rental houses in this city,'" Haner quoted Miles as saying. "'So I take this very personally.'"
It was an emotional punch to accompany the Sun's front-page evidence that its lead paint reporting was forcing the government to take action. But there was a problem: The story wasn't true. The governor and Miles say the lead paint issue was not the purpose of the governor's visit; in fact, it was barely mentioned. And not only did Miles not confront the governor -- he says he never even spoke to him about lead paint.
"He created a story that never happened," says Miles. Miles says there was a meeting between the governor and representatives of a local group called BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development). The subject of the meeting, which was closed to the press, was drug treatment, Miles says; lead poisoning was mentioned only in passing. After the meeting, Miles and the governor held a joint press conference, which Haner did not attend and at which lead paint was not discussed. Haner called Miles at home after the meeting and press conference and interviewed him about the Sun's lead paint series. Although Miles says that Haner's lead paint reporting has been powerful, he also says that Haner "fabricated a story....There was no contact between the governor and I....People were congratulating me for getting on the governor. I was appalled. The remarks were inaccurately quoted and out of context."
Miles called the paper to complain. So did the governor's office. "We were threatening to call a press conference to refute what this gentleman had written," says Miles, who says he spoke to Haner's editors. "They really were trying to cover for this guy. [They said,] 'Maybe he was a little bit exuberant.'"
Longtime Sun reporter Eric Siegel says he detected something odd when he read Haner's story that Saturday morning. "I knew something was out of whack," he says, "because there was a brief two-graph story about the same event deep inside the paper." Indeed, another reporter had written a 104-word summary that ran without a byline on page 2B. "It was a brief account of the meeting that was at odds with what Haner wrote," says Siegel. The item was the second of three in a column called "Assembly Digest": "Gov. Parris N. Glendening said yesterday that he will propose money in a supplemental budget to fund a pilot program in Baltimore that would offer treatment and support for drug addicts." Lead paint wasn't mentioned.
Siegel recalls that over the weekend, "there was a whole bunch of flurries of calls, people being paged," he says. "Once people got wind that there were serious errors in this story, the paper moved pretty quickly to correct them."
Three days after the front-page story ran, a front-page correction appeared that seemed to invalidate the entire premise of Haner's original report: "An article in Saturday's editions of The Sun," it read, "incorrectly characterized the purpose of a visit to Baltimore by Gov. Parris N. Glendening as a fact-finding mission into the city's epidemic of lead-poisoned children. In fact, the governor was in Baltimore for a previously scheduled meeting with Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) to discuss the group's legislative priorities. The issue of lead paint poisoning came up only briefly at the meeting. The same article incorrectly quoted Douglas Miles as telling the governor about the experiences of Miles' grandchildren with lead poisoning. In fact, Miles did not speak to the governor about lead poisoning. The remarks quoted in the story were made in a separate interview with The Sun. The Sun regrets the errors."
It was the kind of correction that left little in the story intact. Basic journalism says you don't report something that didn't happen. "People thought he was on the ropes with this one," a Sun reporter says of Haner.
The governor received a personal apology from editor Carroll. "[Carroll] said the article should not have run," says Michael Morrill, the governor's director of communications, who adds that "the whole content of the article was wrong." Haner admits it was not his proudest moment: "A mistake was made," he says. "Regrettable, embarrassing, all of that stuff," he continues. "You wonder how you could have made such a mistake and then you vow not to have it happen again." So how did it happen? Haner won't explain it. "It is counterproductive at this late date to revisit it or rehash it," he says.
Marimow's response to the same question isn't much more illuminating: "I believe that Jim added two and two and got five," he says. "The bottom line is the story was a bad story which reflects that a fallible human being made a mistake....I believe that he inferred mistakenly information that appeared in the story." But how did Haner "infer" events that didn't take place? His close colleague and vigorous defender Gary Cohn, who sits across from Haner in the newsroom and says he sees "the care and the time he puts into getting things right," suggests that Haner was misled. "It seems what we have is an honest misunderstanding in the conversation between Jim [Haner] and Miles."
The City Paper, a local weekly publication, wrote a piece called "Mistakes Were Made," about Haner's story, 11 days later: "It's one thing to misspell a name," wrote Eileen Murphy, "it's quite another to misrepresent facts and quotes."
Cohn says it defies logic to think Haner could have done this intentionally. "It would make no sense to write something you didn't think was true because it would be entirely predictable that the people you were writing about would call up and complain and you would be faced with writing a correction."
Asher, Haner's editor, dismisses the error as a fluke. "Sometimes sh- - happens," he says. "Lightning happens. You don't know why." He is emphatic that Haner's mistakes are few and forgivable. "Jim has written 244 stories....Men and women in this town who had no hope have hope because of this man."
Former Sun editor Carroll does not minimize the significance of Haner's error. "We had a very serious talk with Jim. It was taken with extreme seriousness," says Carroll in a phone interview from Los Angeles. "I thought that this was a problem, but I thought it was dealt with firmly and correctly. I have no misgivings about it." He continues to have faith in the man he hired. "I consider Jim to be a man of very high integrity and a superior reporter," says Carroll. "Yes, he got sloppy."
Tony White, Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley's press secretary, says this incident confirmed a wariness the mayor's press office had already had about Haner. "He's a little more creative than he should be," says White. "It's a balancing act because Jim is the local authority as far as journalists are concerned with writing about lead poisoning. But at the same time, there's a personal agenda at work....My concern is how far he would go to achieve that."
And David Simon wonders whether Haner thought a little tweaking was safe since it was unlikely the governor would object to being portrayed as responsive to Miles's concerns about lead-poisoned children. "Whose ox is being gored?" asks Simon. "I wonder whether Jim thought he could piggyback his agenda on the real one."
That agenda, say several people at the Sun, is winning prizes for the paper. They say this incident has to be seen in the context of the Carroll-Marimow ethic, which places a premium on the follow-up story, even though those stories can, some say, go beyond a healthy look at an article's developments to a self-referential advertisement for the Sun's impact. The City Paper article described it as "The Sun's ever-more-vigorous program of self-congratulation. Thanks to several high-profile investigative series, the daily has become accustomed to affecting public policy, and its reporters and editors make sure to pat themselves on the back for that in follow-up stories. Readers have become mind-numbingly familiar with the phrases like, 'The move came after The Sun documented....' But then, such claims aren't only for the readers' benefit; they're also directed at Pulitzer Prize judges, who place a premium on reportage that's brought demonstrable results."
"There's a sort of standard around here," says one longtime reporter, "when you do a big project or a big series, you're expected to have impact and [the article is] considered a failure if it doesn't. The day the story appears, you call everyone you know to seek comment to keep the drumbeat going until something happens." Another well-respected reporter seconds this: "You pop the exposé in on Monday, and then, on Tuesday, you say the mayor said he was going to do something about it." Tony White says Haner called the mayor's office "numerous times" after running a story maintaining the mayor had made a policy decision because of Haner's reporting. "That was not accurate," says White. White says that when he called Haner to complain, Haner "got very upset." Glendening's director of communications, Michael Morrill, says the paper was "trying to force action faster than it was happening" on the lead paint issue.
Because Marimow won two Pulitzers at The Philadelphia Inquirer and Carroll sits on the Pulitzer board and has overseen prizewinning articles at other papers, the pair are widely assumed to have the magic Pulitzer touch. But Sun reporter Siegel says that doesn't mean the two encourage reporters to take shortcuts, much less embellish. "They've been involved in a lot of Pulitzers and they've been on committees and they know what it takes to win," he says, "but I don't think there's ever been a suggestion to find something that doesn't exist."
Marimow roundly rejects the idea that awards are the motivation: "What I want to do is have an excellent newspaper," he says firmly. "And to me, Pulitzer Prizes are a slender fraction of real excellence." Carroll is similarly emphatic. "There's never been any signal sent to any reporter that they should do anything but tell the unvarnished truth," he says. (Haner, whom Baltimore Magazine recently named the "top newspaper reporter," received an Investigative Reporters and Editors award in 1999. He has also been a Pulitzer finalist, and the Sun has won two Pulitzers since Carroll arrived in 1991.)
"If you look over my record," says Haner, "you will not see a trail of errors. So I suffer them and I suffered this." His editors at his previous papers all hold him in the highest regard and describe him as aggressive and scrupulous. Sandra Rowe, who was Haner's editor ten years ago at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk and now edits The Oregonian in Portland, recalls that Haner typified the special species called by many the "investigative reporter": "My experience with investigative reporters is that frequently...they believe with all their hearts that there is a snake under every rock. And that's part of what makes them so good. And that's why God made good editors." She adds that the best investigators need the best policing. "I have come, through years of experience of challenging reporters like Haner, [to develop an editing style]...I call 'prosecutorial editing.' I expect editors to literally go through, line by line, phrase by phrase, stories of that nature and have the facts that are asserted proved to them by the reporter, with the reporter at their elbow." Michael Semel, who edited Haner at The Record in Bergen County, New Jersey, and now edits at The Washington Post, says he and Haner did just that. "He is one of the strongest fact checkers I've ever worked with," says Semel. "He's careful, thoughtful, reverent about this business."
Although Haner's lead paint story discrepancy is the freshest controversy, Simon points to other "troubling" examples from earlier in Haner's Sun tenure. The incidents are dated to be sure, but have taken on a new relevance given the recent correction and because Haner's superiors appear to be so forgiving. "Within the newsroom," says one reporter no longer with the paper, "there is a feeling that they have protected him."
In 1995, the Sun had to run a front-page correction of a Haner story about then-mayor Kurt Schmoke. Haner wrote that Schmoke was in Atlanta raising money for his re-election campaign instead of tending to important matters at home: "On August 21, after inviting a civic association from Pigtown to meet with him in the wake of a neighborhood woman's murder, the mayor failed to show up," Haner wrote. "He was busy raising funds in Atlanta, gathering $7,000 in contributions." In fact, Schmoke hadn't left home. "He never bothered to check where the mayor was," says Clinton Coleman, Schmoke's press secretary at the time. In fact, when Coleman complained, instead of apologizing, Haner tried to prove the mayor was lying. A Sun editor enlisted another Sun reporter, Michael James, to call virtually every hotel in Atlanta to check if Schmoke had stayed there. When James came up empty, the Sun ran this correction: "An article yesterday on the city mayoral campaign gave incorrect dates for fund-raising trips by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke to Atlanta and New York. The correct dates were Aug. 22 and July 20, respectively." Coleman says that didn't begin to correct the implication of the original story: "The thrust of the article was that the mayor is off doing things other than running the city. The damage was done." This correction, he says, made it sound like there was simply a mix-up in the calendar.
Coleman says he was already wary of Haner from his first days in the job -- when, he says, Haner misquoted him in a story. That makes Coleman only one of the disgruntled legions who has protested a reporter's getting a quote wrong. The difference is that Coleman didn't protest because he didn't mind the way the quote sounded. "He misquoted me, but it didn't change the basic character of what I said," says Coleman. "He just changed the way that I said it." But Coleman says he didn't complain also because he didn't want to make an enemy of an important reporter. "In hindsight it was a mistake, because the next time he quoted me, he changed the character of what I said and it came out terribly wrong." Observes Simon, "I've had people who said I misquoted them, but I never had someone say I misquoted them and they liked the quotes."
Coleman is joined by Baltimore's current health commissioner, Peter Beilenson, whose ambivalence about Haner's alleged misquotes is palpable: "I sort of made a pact with myself that I would just accept what he was doing," says Beilenson. "It's...sad, in a way." Beilenson says he's decided that what he considers Haner's alleged quote-tinkering is outweighed by the importance of his stories. "There's absolutely no question that his [lead paint] series really ignited actions on the part of the city and reinvigorated advocacy groups," says Beilenson. "The only concern has been that some of my quotes weren't things I actually said....Large chunks of the paragraphs of quotes that were attributed to me I hadn't said." Beilenson says he was genuinely ignorant about journalistic ethics and asked another Sun reporter about the rules. An editor called him back, and Beilenson asked, "'Are you supposed to do the gist of the quote?'" The editor said, "'No! You've got to write what they say!'"
Then there was the article the Sun ran on April 7, 1994, when Haner reported on the front page that two cops had been indicted for murder when they hadn't. "Apparently people had informed him they were going to be indicted," Simon recalls, "but it ran unattributed." And it ran as past-tense fact: "Two undercover Baltimore police officers were indicted yesterday on second-degree murder charges in the killing of a convicted drug dealer," Haner's story read. The article punched up the implications: "The grand jury's finding marks the first time in at least two decades that city police officers have been accused of maliciously killing a suspect....It also means that the jury ruled out the possibility that the killing was in self-defense, as the officers claim."
In fact, the two police officers were never indicted. "A cardinal sin in journalism," says one Sun reporter, "is indicting someone who's not indicted. You always wait for the paperwork to be filed." Once again, complaints were made, and once again, another Sun reporter -- Michael James, who had been dispatched to interview the mother of the victim who had supposedly been murdered by cops -- was left sharing a byline on an erroneous story.
The next day, the Sun didn't run a traditional correction but instead ran a new front-page story saying that the grand jury had reversed its indictment. The story made much of how rarely a grand jury changes its mind. "It was absurd," says Simon. "Once a grand jury hands up an indictment, it can't get pulled back." Former state's attorney Stuart Simms recalls that all indications were that the vote would be for indictment, but that the Sun jumped the gun. "It struck me at the time as being perhaps premature," says Simms.
Simon says that as a single incident, Haner's mistake was careless but forgivable, if Haner had in fact learned from a reliable source that it was likely to happen and neglected to check it or attribute it. The problem is that Simon thinks it wasn't the only time Haner was hasty in his desire to turn a single into a home run.
"They never publicly criticized the guy," says one reporter. "They never have said, 'He screwed up.' And they didn't run a correction. I think if they did they would be confirming Haner was a showboat."
when he first met haner, Simon says, he welcomed him and offered to help in any way he could. Two others say Simon was not so charitable; not only was Haner heralded as the Sun's newest scrappy muckraker, but he was edging into Simon's territory: Baltimore crime. But Simon says he began to have doubts about Haner when his old police sources complained to him about errors in Haner's stories. His suspicions intensified, he says, after Haner filed a story on an incident with which Simon was familiar: A female police officer had shot an unarmed man in the back. It had looked at first like a clear-cut example of a trigger-happy cop, perhaps symptomatic of a larger problem in the police department. But gunpowder residue on the victim's hand proved that the police officer's defense held up: She had said she fired at the victim after he first reached for her gun. The officer was cleared, but the victim's family brought a wrongful death civil suit two years later, which Haner covered sympathetically. Although Haner did report the officer's exoneration in his story, Simon says he failed to mention the forensic evidence, which was crucial in the police officer's defense. When, Simon says, he pointed it out to Haner, Haner was "angry and defensive." "He says, 'It's not important,'" Simon recalls. "'Everyone knows you can fake those [gun residue] tests.'" Simon says he went to the city editor at the time, James Asher, who, according to Simon, made Haner add a reference in his follow-up story. (Asher says Simon never talked to him.)
When Simon left the Sun -- partly, he says, because he didn't like the direction of the paper -- he says he warned Carroll and Marimow about their shining recruit. (Marimow says he doesn't remember Simon's admonition; Carroll does.) "I said, 'Haner may win you a Pulitzer one day,'" says Simon. "'You may also have to give it back.'"
When publisher Waller, who is aware of Haner's January correction, is informed, by this reporter, for the first time about the details of Haner's errors on the indictment story and the Schmoke story, there is a short silence. "If those are true, those are big mistakes," he says, sounding surprised. He notes that both happened before he got to the Sun, but adds that "if they're true, I'd say he's running out of room."
"i couldn't sleep, thinking about this," says Marimow, who is clearly concerned about how this article might affect Haner's career. He sits at his blond wood conference table sipping a Diet Coke and speaking in the measured tones of a preternaturally patient professor. He says he woke up at 4 o'clock that morning to jot down some thoughts, and shows me a small diagram scribbled on legal paper, a line between two end points labeled "Two Poles of the Possible Truth." On the one side, he says, are "anyone who has an axe to grind" and public officials who may be motivated by the fact that Haner's reporting has occasionally, as Haner himself puts it, "held their feet to the fire." On the other side are highly regarded editors from important papers who have worked with Haner and swear by his honor.
"I think you come up with what I would call a complex picture," says Marimow. "Is he tempestuous? Yes. Volatile? Yes. With bravado? Yes. But not someone who's dishonest and who is a person who is worthy of having an article tarnishing his reputation." If Simon loves the Sun so much, Marimow asks, why didn't he mention that he worked there in The Corner, and why did he slam the current management recently in The New York Times and the American Journalism Review? "This is something deep-seated," says Marimow, who goes out of his way to say how much he admires Simon's work. "I don't get it." (Simon says he did make mention of the Sun in The Corner and that, furthermore, he didn't knock the Sun -- just its editors.)
Although Haner, Marimow, and Asher were given numerous opportunities to elucidate the reasons behind Haner's errors and omissions, they declined repeatedly. "The mistakes you're talking about," says Asher, "were serious mistakes. And we don't deny that they happened....But you're party to an effort by at least one individual who I happen to know has had great animus for Haner since he walked in the door. And the reason he has great animus against Haner has little to do with Haner and more to do with his inability to see how the Sun has changed over time." Asher says the fact is that before the Philadelphia alumni -- to which he belongs -- took over, the Sun "was a pretty rotten newspaper."
Simon concedes the Sun has changed in some ways for the better -- "better storytelling," he says. But he also feels that a price has been paid. In Jim Haner's case, "the standards for journalism that once held for this paper have shifted," Simon claims. "We're supposed to come to the campfire with the truest story. If the story is 70 percent of what you hoped it would be, report the 70 percent. Don't twist it until it's 100....I don't think that journalism gets better if we don't police our own."
Have an opinion about what you just read?
Join the discussion on our message boards.
a letter to the editor.
We post some of the letters we receive, and may edit for length and clarity. Please tell us if you don't want us to share yours.
books at 25% below retail prices.
(for free) lively commentary from leading opinion makers, cultural figures and book experts.
Spend $25 on anything at Contentville and get a free subscription to Brill's Content magazine, plus a membership in the Citizens' Club, which gives you a 5% discount off already-low prices. Shop NOW and get your FREE subscription!
|DISCUSS this article on the message boards.|
| a letter to the editor.
|READ recent feedback.