Newspaper adopts classic crisis PR strategy after fabrication scandal

A reporter at the Cape Cod Times was caught fabricating dozens of stories dating back to the ‘90s. The paper apologized with a direct response.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

In what is becoming an all too common occurrence, veteran reporter Karen Jeffrey from the Cape Cod Times was called out this week for being a serial fabricator. Apparently, she’d been making up sources dating back to at least the 1990s.

“In an audit of Jeffrey’s work, Times editors have been unable to find 69 people in 34 stories since 1998, when we began archiving stories electronically,” Times editors wrote this week in an apology to readers.

According to journalism think tank, this is the third instance this year of a mass fabrication by journalists. That’s on top of other instances of fabrication that don’t fall into the “serial” category.

“Jeffrey’s offenses stand out for their frequency, and for the length of time she got away with it,” said Craig Silverman, who reports on media errors for Poynter. “Fabrication is always scandalous, but it’s all the more outrageous when someone can get away with it for so long.”

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.