Monday, June 27, 2005

Diana Griego Erwin faked 43 people.

Media: Credit to the Sacramento Bee for the investigation and being open to the public of its findings. But given Erwin won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1986, how far back does this sort of fakery go? How many other human interest writers have done so to "capture the mood" of an issue of the week. At least you in this case you understand why her stories always seemed to fit perfectly.

"An internal investigation into the published work of former Bee columnist Diana Griego Erwin found 43 cases in which individuals named by the writer could not be authenticated as real people. Griego Erwin, whose column ran three days a week on The Bee's Metro page, resigned May 11 after she failed to substantiate details from several recent columns. She has denied fabricating any information. The Bee investigation - conducted by reporters, editors and researchers - initially focused on Griego Erwin's work during the previous 16 months. From Jan. 1, 2004, until her final column on April 26, Griego Erwin wrote 171 columns. The Bee's investigation found 30 names in 27 separate columns that could not be verified during that time period. The people could not be found in voter registration rolls, property records, telephone books, identity databases or through scores of phone calls. In light of those findings, the review expanded to include a sampling of columns spanning her 12-year tenure with the newspaper, and 13 additional cases in another 10 columns were found. Many of the columns in question fit a template: essays, often with a surprising O. Henry twist, about a singular person who faces a challenge and surmounts it. Their stories frequently reflect a theme taken from current headlines - wildfires, for example, or prison brutality, school shootings, murderous road rage or a high-profile trial.

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