July 6, 2012

The Atlantic Wire | Yale Daily News | The Clarion-Ledger
Alexander Abad-Santos reports The Huffington Post removed an article by Liane Membis, who lost her Wall Street Journal internship last month because she fabricated quotes.

Membis’ HuffPo piece was republished from The New Journal at Yale, where it’s still online. It’s about a 2010 Yale grad and undocumented immigrant Membis called Teresa Serrano, saying she’d changed her subject’s name to protect her.

The editor’s note says The Huffington Post removed the piece after investigating and finding “sources in the original piece denied having made statements attributed to them by the author; other attributed statements in the piece could not be independently confirmed.” Santos notes the banality of quotes from Membis’ subject:

Like the quotes that got Membis fired from The Wall Street Journal, they’re pretty ho-hum and forgettable, but they’re also tailor-made for a story about “Serrano”‘s struggle.

In an interview with the Yale Daily News, Membis said her Wall Street Journal fabulism was an “an honest reporting mistake that I made,” and that “This is definitely something I’ve never done before.”

The “honest” part of that is a little hard to swallow. In an open letter to Membis, the great Jerry Mitchell muses about the “baffling” nature of her transgressions.

If you had actually taken the time to talk to real people in the neighborhood, you would have gotten far better quotes than the ones you decided to concoct.

That’s what’s so vexing about this whole Membis business: Why did she throw away her career for such minor stuff?

Also, the pieces Membis wrote for CNN are still up. CNN still hasn’t replied to my query about whether it is looking into them.

Previously: Wall Street Journal intern fired for fabricating sources

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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