Reporter Karen Jeffrey was real, but some
of the people she wrote about were not.
She isn't sure exactly why she did it. From The New York Times:
When an editor at The Cape Cod Times was reading the newspaper last month, she thought an article about the Veterans Day parade from the day before seemed slightly off.Read more: Newspaper on Cape Cod Apologizes for a Veteran Reporter’s Fabrications, The New York Times>>
The article, written by Karen Jeffrey, a longtime reporter, told of a Ronald Chipman, 46, and his family from Boston. The Chipmans apparently were oblivious to Veterans Day until they saw the parade. Ms. Jeffrey described the family in detail, including a scene in which the parents used their smartphones to find information about the holiday, creating a “teachable moment” for themselves and their children.
Maybe it was the tidiness of the tale. Or the notion that adults were unfamiliar with Veterans Day. But the article did not ring true to the editor and she set out to find the Chipmans. She searched several databases but turned up nothing. She reported her finding to the editor in chief, Paul Pronovost.
Mr. Pronovost asked the editor — whom he would not name to protect her privacy — to check other recent articles by Ms. Jeffrey. After more people in the articles could not be found, he then asked Ms. Jeffrey for help in locating the Chipmans. Ms. Jeffrey said she had thrown out her notes.
“That’s when the alarm bells went off,” Mr. Pronovost said.