Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Former Sacramento Bee Journalist's Stories Under Investigation

Various outlets are reporting that stories turned in over a twelve year period by former Sacramento Bee journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Diana Griego Erwin have been investigated by executive editor Rick Rodriguez and his staff. Rodriguez said Sunday the paper could not verify that more than 40 sources Griego Erwin quoted actually existed.

According to the Bee's own story, published on Sunday, June 26, among the things that were unusual about Griego Erwin's pieces was that the people she wrote about had such singular names or identifying characteristics that they should have been easy to find. One was "Victor Budriyev", but no such person appeared to live in the U.S. according to a Google search. A retired teacher named Margaret Brown did not show up in the state's list of retired teachers. Shortly before she left the paper in May, Griego Erwin was asked to provide contact information for four of her sources.The paper was unable to verify the existence of the individuals she named. Alarmed, the staff continued its inquiry, resulting in the report published on the 26th.

Read the Sacramento Bee's story, and Rick Rodriguez's letter to readers, here (registration required). Read an interview with Griego Erwin here.

Read the Washington Post's story here. An Editor & Publisher story dated May 12, 2005 covered Griego Erwin's departure and the original announcement concerning the Bee's investigation. Read it here.

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