Report: NBC got interview with teen who faked pregnancy by offering scholarship (Update: Not true, says NBC)

Yakima Herald
A Yakima Herald story about Gaby Rodriguez — the high school student who faked pregnancy for a school project — reported in the 25th and 26th paragraphs:

[A boyfriend] appeared with Gaby live on NBC’s “Today” show May 10, along with her mother and principal Trevor Greene, who was in on the secret.

She initially planned to appear on ABC but backed out of that agreement, opting for NBC, which, according to [Sharlene] Martin, her agent, offered Gaby a scholarship. Martin didn’t say how much it was worth.

I’ve e-mailed NBC News spokeswoman Monica Lee for comment. || UPDATE: An NBC spokeswoman says: “We licensed the footage for a nominal fee which we disclosed in the piece. There was no ‘scholarship’ (to what??) offered.”

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  • Anonymous

    Here’s a letter to the editor I sent to the Yakima Herald-Republic on May 27 concerning its clueless coverage of this student’s phony pregnancy “experiment.”

    To the editor:
    I am appalled that the Herald-Republic published yet another article about Toppenish High School student Gaby Rodriquez’s “social experiment” without prominently raising the issue of poor ethics. The fact that the student was terribly uncomfortable with her deceit in faking a pregnancy should have signaled everyone that the project should be halted.
    What kind of lesson is all this gushing media coverage conveying about the acceptability of lying? Will other students and teachers now be encouraged to engage in unethical and potential dangerous experiments? And we still don’t know — despite five H-R articles, an editorial, and a Today Show interview —  what Rodriguez learned that she couldn’t have learned simply by interviewing pregnant girls at the school.  
    The president of the Washington Science Teachers Association and two social science and psychology professionals with doctorates told me this “experiment” likely would not have received approval in a university setting. Toppenish High should be teaching students proper research methods; it has committed educational malpractice here, with the apparent collaboration of mentors at  Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital . The state should investigate. And the Herald-Republic and the Today Show have committed journalistic malpractice by failing to raise these important ethics questions.

  • Anonymous

    The weekly paper in Toppenish, Wash., reports NBC paid $5,000 to the school district, which put it in a fund for the girl.