The Kelley Affair  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   June/July 2004

The Kelley Affair   

I think Jack Kelley would have been well served had he started off at one of Gannett's smaller community newspapers ("Who Knows Jack?" April/May).

In such a community, I doubt he would have found the time to be fast and loose with the truth. A quick call to the editor or publisher would have scared him straight.

Both my husband and I work at a small newspaper in Gainesville, Georgia, that was owned by Gannett until February, when we were sold to another company. When officials, or for that matter local residents, thought they had been misquoted, you could be sure not only the reporter, but our editors heard about it as well.

A small paper would have been a good training ground for Mr. Kelley, who maybe would have been just as great after having learned the ropes the right way.

I just hope that we are not subjected to untold hours of television interviews with Mr. Kelley after he writes his version of his 21-year history of deception in a book in the not-too-distant future.

Listening to Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass spin their way out of their lies was enough.

Kate S. Peabody
News assistant
The Times
Gainesville, Georgia

I was struck at the way the media wrote Jack Kelley's story so differently from that of Jayson Blair. I didn't get a sense how his misdeeds would affect born-again Christian reporters, middle age reporters, Irish reporters. Yet Blair's age, race and the issue of affirmative action were the focal point of reporting of his shameful acts. Kelley and Blair are lazy reporters who wanted the quick and easy way to the top. They embellish stories and make them up outright when there was none. But both of them are individuals and any attempt, in the case of Blair, to go beyond the narrow, is missing the point of these rogues. They represent no one but themselves.

Garry Pierre-Pierre
Haitian Times
Brooklyn, New York

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