One of the most talked about scandals in journalism's history occurred recently at one of the most prestigious newspapers in America. On May 11th of 2003, The New York Times dedicated a four page article, entitled Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception, to explaining the behavior of a former employee. That employee was Jayson Blair. The twenty-seven year old reporter, who never even graduated from college, succeeded in misleading colleagues, editors and most devastatingly, readers for years. The Times, in hopes to repair the damage done by a reporter who lacked ethics and morals, asked readers to report any falsehoods in Blair's work to an email address. .
The Times investigated Blair's work over the four years he was a reporter for the paper. On May 11th, there were problems found in over 36 of the 73 articles Blair had written since his start on the national reporting beat only seven months earlier. Blair is guilty of a number of journalistic crimes. "He fabricated comments. He concocted scenes. He lifted material from other newspapers and wire services. He selected details from photographs to create the impression he had been somewhere or seen someone, when he had not, " according to The New York Times. Blair worked on numerous articles that were full of emotional energy; the return of Jessica Lynch, the DC sniper and coverage on soldiers in Iraq. Each of these stories, in one way or another, was tainted with Blair's deceitful actions. .
The most prominent characteristic of every newspaper around the world is truth. That is the one thing that Blair, among other infamous reporters over the years including Janet Cooke, Patricia Smith and Stephen Glass, was missing. According to The Times, his "tools of deceit were a cell phone and a laptop computer.".
During Blair's tenure at The New York Times several editors and reporters expressed concern over Blair's behavior and reporting and writing skills.