Karen Jeffrey: making up news

| December 6, 2012

Chief Tango sends us a link in the Cape Cod Times in which the periodical is forced to apologize for their “journalist” Karen Jeffrey who has been making up sources for her articles for the last 30 years. 69 phony sources in 34 articles since 1998.

The investigation of Jeffrey’s work began Nov. 12 when a Veterans Day assignment raised questions among editors, who decided to closely review the story Jeffrey wrote.

Jeffrey’s Veterans story begins this way:

“CHATHAM — Ronald Chipman and his family were strolling along Chatham’s Main Street when they noticed traffic slowed. A crowd of people gathered at the small rotary ahead.

“Flags, uniforms, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The Chipmans were momentarily puzzled.

“‘I looked at my wife. She looked back at me. We had the same guilty thought — Veterans Day — and we thought nothing about it except as a long weekend on the Cape until we saw that,’ said Chipman, 46, a Boston resident. ‘You live in the city and sometimes you forget about things like this — about things still mattering to people,’ he said.”

The editors were unable to find the Chipman family. When asked if she could help locate the family, Jeffrey said she could not because she threw away her notes.

Category: Media

Comments (12)

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  1. Contin says:

    News reporters making up stories and faking sources??? I have never heard of such an atrocity! Well unless your name is Dan Rather…

  2. AverageNCO says:

    So I clicked on the link to the article and had a revalation: After sailing his house to Paradise Falls on balloons, and saving a giant bird named Kevin….the little old man from “Up” went to Cape Cod to write bogus newspaper articles.

  3. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    The editors are clearly making up this story about the journalist who was making up stories …

  4. CBSenior says:

    So she used the old dog ate my notes, that one works every time. I feel bad for her husband, yes dear I did have an orgasm, see here I wrote it in my diary.

  5. Blanka says:

    Damn, for thirty years, though? Not sure whether to give her credit for being a good liar or the paper discredit for being bad investigators.

  6. Just an Old Dog says:

    Writers have been doing this for centuries. Onr fairly recent one was the clown that interviewed Jessica Lynch’s Parents ,, on their vast cattle ranch,,, in the mountains of West Va.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    Unfortunately, the so-called “journalists” like Ms. Jeffrey (or is that Mrs.?) who do this kind of thing are wanna-be novelists who are unwilling to do the basic stuff of good writing. They make up stories that are believable enought so that the readers can get lost in it, but fail to make sure that they don’t put fiction into the story before it goes into print. They take on jobs as reporters at local newspapers and get by-lines but, lacking real resources and needing to meet deadlines, they make things up. My guess is that they think no one will check up on them. Wrong.

    The best clanker ever was the WaPo reporter who wrote a story about boy living in abject poverty, which story got her nominated for a Pulitzer. People were calling the paper to find out where this child was so that they could help him. Even DC’s Humans Services got involved. When her editor asked for the backup, for her notes, her research, she finally admitted that she had made up the entire thing. Lost her job. Lost her Pulitzer. Made an ass of herself in public. I have no idea what ever happened to her. It was 30-some years ago.

    The point is, if you’re going to write fiction, stick to novels. If you going to write news, stick to non-fiction and stop wasting the readers’ time.

  8. malclave says:

    69 phony sources in 34 articles since 1998.

    Wow. That’s the kind of solid journalism that we expect from the New York Times or MSNBC.

  9. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @8. Exactly! It’s not intellectually or journalistically unethical to slant NEWS the way you want it to go through omission, word choice, and devoting 95% of a story to the favored subject’s point of view. Those things are just dandy, but concoct facts rather than merely twisting the NEWS like Gumby and you’re likely to get a Pulitzer or an honorary doctorate at Columbia.

  10. El Marco says:

    Never let facts stand in the way of a good story.

  11. SGT T says:

    Oh say it isnt so

  12. DaveO says:

    With that much creativity, the writer should have made a deal to serialize her fiction, like novelists did before the invention of straight-to-DVD movie adaptations. Somebody somewhere would have bought her work.

    A good way to change America is to go after local newsies the same TAH goes after stolen valor – one at a time, with great umbrage and a giant spotlight. Once folks learn the local newsies are corrupt, it is easier to break Matthews, Cooper, and the rest of syndicate.