L.A. Times Managing Editor Dean Baquet shows up in a New York Times story Monday on the rash of newspaper fabrication and plagiarism discovered since last year's Jayson Blair scandal. He addresses the limitation of editorial safeguards.
"It's still a craft built on trust," said Dean Baquet, managing editor of The Los Angeles Times and a former national editor of The New York Times. "I don't think I've seen an invention yet that can change that."
"We work in a craft where an individual files a story from Baghdad telling you he interviewed a guy on the side of a road who you as his editor will never see in your life," Mr. Baquet said. "You can bend over as far backward as you'd like to create a system to police that. In the end, you have to accept the word of that reporter or not."
Still, Mr. Baquet said that in recent months his newspaper had redoubled its efforts to "make sure our readers' rep takes calls from readers and that we listen when readers have complaints."
The NYT story is pegged to last week's report by USA Today that its former star foreign correspondent, Jack Kelley, "fabricated substantial portions of at least eight major stories" and "lifted nearly two dozen quotes or other material from competing publications."