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More fake journalism from Germany

A mainstream German newspaper has distanced itself from a journalist suspected of having invented the protagonist of a text.

Published: February 22, 2019, 8:28 am


    The unnamed freelance journalist, who, according to industry service Meedia wrote for Spiegel and Zeit as well, wrote fake news for the mainstream Süddeutsche Zeitung. The reporter is a recipient of the coveted Henri Nannen Prize.

    Through an internal audit, the editorial staff of the SZ magazine apparently started doubting the authenticity of parts of the text, which centred around the subject of “relations”. The author eventually “admitted that the doubts were justified”,  said the Süddeutsche Zeitung at the request of Meedia.

    “The story with the invented protagonist was not yet published, as our procedures for auditing journalistic texts have worked,” said a spokeswoman. Nevertheless, the case will serve as an opportunity to further improve “internal workflows”.

    The article, which was published in January, had already been submitted months before the fake news scandal involving the former Spiegel author Claas Relotius became known .

    The author has already written more than 40 articles in the past for various publications of the SZ publishing family.

    However, a review of the contributions in question revealed “no evidence that there have been further serious violations of our journalistic standards”. Spiegel and Zeit are currently reviewing the author’s texts published by them.

    In the case of Relotius, a review by Zeit showed that many the texts written by Relotius, the “CNN Journalist of the Year 2014”, were fake.

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