Danish magazine probe shows reporter quoted the dead
A former journalist at the Danish daily Information apologised Wednesday after a probe by a media industry magazine revealed he had quoted people he had never spoken to, including at least two who were dead.
"I have made several mistakes. I am sorry and I take responsibility for what I have done," journalist Mads Qvortrup, who now works for public broadcaster TV2, told the Journalisten magazine when confronted with its findings.
"I am not educated as a journalist, but am an academic, and I discovered ... that written journalism was not my strong suit, and I took the consequences of that and quit my job at Information," he explained.
The media industry review discovered that between February and May 2009, Qvortrup had on several occasions quoted sources he had never spoken with.
The Britain-based reporter had for instance quoted an undertaker named Fred W. Paine in a May 2009 article about popular funeral songs, even writing that Paine made his remarks with a "mischievous smile".
However, according to Journalisten, Paine had died "a long time ago".
In February that same year, Qvortrup quoted a British police chief, Colin Cramphorn, as if he had just spoken to him.
But Cramphorn died of prostate cancer in November 2006, Journalisten revealed.
The review also claims the reporter in other articles appears to have plagiarised British media, while several living sources quoted by him insist they never talked to him.
Information meanwhile has refused to open an inquiry into the reporter's work, rejecting suggested parallels between the case and the Jason Blair affaire at the New York Times, which in 2003 resulted in a more than 7,000-word correction of his plagiarised and mis-reported stories.
"I do not see any connection between the two," the Danish daily's chief editor Chritian Jensen told Journalisten, insisting "this is a story of the past".
"It is over and has nothing to do with Information's journalistic practices today, which is what I am responsible for," he said.
© 2011 AFP