AJR  Drop Cap
From AJR,   April/May 2007


By AJR Staff

An article by Kurt Eichenwald on Dec. 19, 2005, reported on a teenage boy's sexual exploitation on the Internet, and an accompanying Reporter's Essay by Mr. Eichenwald published on nytimes.com explained the details of his initial contact with the subject.

"The essay was intended to describe how Mr. Eichenwald persuaded Justin Berry, then 18, to talk about his situation. But Mr. Eichenwald did not disclose to his editors or readers that he had sent Mr. Berry a $2,000 check. Mr. Eichenwald said he was trying to maintain contact out of concern for a young man in danger, and did not consider himself to be acting as a journalist when he sent the check.... After they met in person, but before he decided that he wanted to write an article, Mr. Eichenwald said he told the youth that the money would have to be returned."

from a March 6 Editor's Note in the New York Times. Eichenwald, now a reporter for Portfolio magazine, told the Associated Press that he sent the check to learn Berry's true name and address and did not intend to write about him at that time. The $2,000 was repaid by Berry's grandmother.

"As most of you have heard, we took a series of disciplinary steps last week involving Tom Hallman. Tom had accepted an offer from Andy Wiederhorn last year to park in the lot at his Goose Hollow offices. Tom did so over a period of months. Tom has acknowledged that accepting this offer was a serious ethical breach, given Wiederhorn's controversial past, the fact he continues to be in the news and because Tom did a series on Wiederhorn eight years ago. At the time, it didn't occur to him this would be a problem, as he no longer reports on Wiederhorn or had any plans to do so in the future."

March 5 memo from Oregonian Editor Sandra Mims Rowe after the alternative paper Willamette Week showed readers photos of a 1992 Cadillac and asked them to identify the owner. Hallman, a Pulitzer Prize winner, was suspended for two weeks without pay, lost his senior writer status and was told to send Wiederhorn a $500 check for the parking even though Wiederhorn, a convicted felon, does not charge for the lot. Rowe said Hallman also would participate in "ethics discussions" when he returned.

"The Greeley Tribune has agreed to end a years-old practice of copying stories from competing newspapers and falsely labeling them as Associated Press dispatches, the newspaper's publisher said Thursday."

from the February 23 Coloradoan. The story quoted Steve Weaver, the Greeley, Colorado, paper's publisher, as saying the practice began when Chris Cobler was its editor. Cobler, who had just accepted a job with the Poynter Institute, denied sanctioning the practice, but five days later Poynter announced that by "mutual conclusion," he would not become managing editor of Poynter Online.