Sun-Times Media photographer fired for fabricating photo essays

Pioneer Press staff photographer Tamara Bell was fired late last week after the paper discovered she had made up "at least 43 photos and related captions" for a "Question of the Week" feature.

When confronted, Bell confessed to repeated fabrications.

Pioneer Press publishes community newspapers in the Chicago area and is owned by Sun-Times Media. The Chicago Sun-Times' report on Bell's firing included text from a statement by Pioneer Press publisher Chris Krug. The statement appeared in the papers, and is online here.

Recently, the Pioneer Press learned that a photographer on our staff has produced false photo essays on numerous occasions for the "Question of the Week," a regularly occurring feature.

This is absolutely unacceptable.

The photographer admitted to producing false photo essays that appeared in the Deerfield Review, Highland Park News, Morton Grove Champion, Niles Herald-Spectator, Norridge-Harwood Heights News, [Oak Park] Oak Leaves, Park Ridge Herald-Advocate and Western Springs Doings.

The Pioneer Press is committed to accurately covering the stories of our local communities and readers, and we apologize for this breach of trust.

The photographer’s employment with our company has been terminated, and we have instituted new measures in an effort to prevent this from happening in the future.

I emailed Krug to learn more about the new measures that were instituted, and why his note appears to have been left off the website.

Related: Hearst fires reporter for serial fabrication in at least 25 stories |

  • Craig Silverman

    Craig Silverman ( is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Regret the Error, a blog that reports on media errors and corrections, and trends regarding accuracy and verification.


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