Paresh Jha

Serial fabricator Paresh Jha: ‘Yeah I made it up’

The Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists concluded its independent investigation into serial fabricator Paresh Jha’s work and on Monday announced it has revoked his first place prize.

The board also said Jha will keep his third place prize because the “investigation found no evidence of deception.” The decision to let the third place prize stand is contrary to the recommendation made to the CTSPJ board by media lawyer and Syracuse professor Roy Gutterman, the independent investigator retained to look into two Jha articles that won the prizes in May.

Jha’s former employer, Hearst’s New Canaan News, previously stated that he had admitted to fabricating sources in his first place entry but that the other winning story was clear of infractions. The CTSPJ board decided to launch an independent investigation before making any determination about Jha’s awards. Read more


SPJ investigator looking into serial fabricator Paresh Jha’s work

Roy Gutterman can’t stop watching “Shattered Glass,” the film based on the story of serial fabricator Stephen Glass.

It keeps popping up on HBO, and he finds himself transfixed every time.

“I can’t flip by without watching that movie for at least 10 or 15 minutes,” he said.

Gutterman is currently digging into the work of another serial fabricator: Paresh Jha, the former staff reporter for Hearst’s New Canaan News who was recently fired for fabricating quotes and sources in at least 27 articles.

Gutterman was given the task of investigating two Jha articles that recently won awards from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists. One of those articles has already been pulled offline by Jha’s former employer as a result of their internal findings that it included fabricated material. Read more

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Connecticut SPJ board launches investigation into Paresh Jha’s award-winning articles

The board of the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists has launched its own investigation into several articles written by admitted serial fabricator Paresh Jha.

Jha was a reporter with the weekly New Canaan News who was exposed as a serial fabricator late last week. To date, there have been reports of fabrication in at least 27 of his articles. He hasn’t commented publicly, and the paper and its owner, Hearst, have said little about Jha’s offenses.

The Connecticut SPJ decision comes after deliberations about how to handle the fact that last month Jha took home first- and third- place prizes at the organization’s 2011 Excellence in Journalism awards.

Hearst informed the board that the company had found fabricated material in one of the stories that won Jha a first-place award for in-depth series. Read more


Connecticut SPJ board considers launching investigation of fabrication in Paresh Jha’s articles

The board of the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists is considering initiating its own investigation of award-winning articles written by confessed fabricator Paresh Jha.

This investigation would be used to determine whether to rescind one or both of the awards given to Jha at last month’s CTSPJ 2011 Excellence in Journalism awards.

Board member and secretary-elect Ricky Campbell, a staff reporter with The Register Citizen, said the board is currently engaged in discussions by email. Voting on motions regarding Jha will be concluded by 7 p.m. tomorrow evening, he said. Any board decision will be made public sometime after that deadline.

Jha was fired from Hearst’s New Canaan News last week for fabricating sources while working as a staff writer for the paper. Read more


Connecticut SPJ condemns Paresh Jha’s fabrications, reconsiders his awards

The Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has issued a statement condemning the serial fabrications of Paresh Jha and saying it has “sought information from Hearst about verification of sources and reporting” in two Jha articles that recently won awards from the SPJ.

“The CTSPJ Board of Directors and officers are considering whether any action related to these awards should be taken,” reads the statement from Cindy Simoneau, current president of the CTSPJ and Jodie Mozdzer, incoming president. (The full statement is reproduced below.)

The New Canaan News revealed late last week that it had found 25 stories that included fabricated sources and quotes, and that Jha confessed to making things up in his stories. Since issuing the statement about Jha, the paper and Heart’s leadership in Connecticut have declined to provide additional details. Read more


Hearst editor acknowledges New Canaan News still searching for fabricated stories

Ashley Varese does not want to talk about Paresh Jha.

Varese is the editor of the New Canaan News, a small weekly paper owned by Hearst that last week admitted fired staff reporter Jha is one of the worst serial fabricators in recent journalistic history.

The paper’s statement about Jha, published online late Friday afternoon, reported that Jha had fabricated sources and quotes in 25 stories going back a year and a half.

Since putting that brief statement online, no one from the paper or Hearst’s Connecticut operation has spoken publicly.

In the meantime, I turned up evidence that Jha in fact fabricated entire articles — something not mentioned in the paper’s statement to readers — and that other examples of fabricated stories were still online as of this week. Read more


Hearst serial fabricator Paresh Jha may have made up more stories than Stephen Glass

The New Canaan News recently announced that fired staff writer Paresh Jha repeatedly fabricated sources and quotes in at least 25 stories. The weekly paper also declared that any “stories found to contain fabricated material have been removed from the newspaper’s web site.”

But at least one Jha story still on the site appears to have been completely fabricated. With the final tally still to be determined, the total number of stories that Jha fully or partly fabricated could easily exceed Stephen Glass‘ mark of 27 while at The New Republic.

Meanwhile, the paper isn’t talking.

Attempts to get a comment from New Canaan News editor Ashley Varese and editorial director of Hearst Connecticut Media Group David McCumber have been met with silence. We don’t know if they continue to hunt for examples, or if highly questionable stories, such as the one detailed below, remain on the site because they slipped through their research. Read more


Fabricator Paresh Jha likely made up entire articles, not just sources

What are the odds that none of four U.S. college students quoted in an news article are on Facebook?

And that not a single one of their last names shows up in White Pages listings for people in the town they and their parents supposedly live in?

And that Google searches for the names of the students and their parents turn up not a single hit, save for that one article they’re all quoted in?

The chances are slim.

But when you know the story in question carried the byline of newly confessed fabricator Paresh Jha, the pieces start to fit together.

The story, “Kids adjust to parents’ rules after college freedom,” is no longer available on the website of the New Canaan News, the newspaper that employed Jha until late last week. Read more

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Hearst fires reporter for serial fabrication in at least 25 stories

Paresh Jha, an award-winning reporter for Hearst Newspapers’ New Canaan News in Connecticut, has been fired for fabricating sources and quotes in at least 25 stories over the nearly two years he worked at the weekly.

The paper announced his firing in a report published on its website just before 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

“We have found 25 stories written by Paresh Jha over the last year and a half that contain quotes from nonexistent sources,” said David McCumber, editorial director of the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.

He went on to say, “When confronted, Jha admitted that he had fabricated the names and the quotes.”

McCumber apologized to readers for the “gross violation of our standards.” The story about Jha is currently the most read item on the site, despite being published late on a Friday. Read more