Germany: Der Spiegel says star reporter made up parts of stories

Cheryl Sanders
December 23, 2018

'The management of Der Spiegel will appoint a committee of internal and external experts, ' the publication said, adding that the results will be published.

Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn listed what they said were 11 inaccurate claims made by the Spiegel reporter in his article, which focused on the town's conservative voters following the 2016 USA presidential election.

The news outlet apologised to its readers for the deceit and described it as "a low point in Spiegel's 70-year history".

The German weekly Der Spiegel, one of the top-selling publications in Europe, is reeling from a scandal that revealed that a star reporter has reportedly faked stories for years.

He had composed over 60 articles for Der Spiegel and was largely lauded for his work. Moreno also reported his concerns to DER SPIEGEL.


Relotius described, for example, a sign greeting people at city limits that reads "Mexicans Keep Out".

Claas Relotius, a reporter and editor, falsified his articles on a grand scale and even invented characters, deceiving both readers and his colleagues.

New York Times reporter Jayson Blair resigned in 2003 after editors discovered he had committed "frequent acts of journalistic fraud".

"I am sick and I need to get help", he is quoted as saying by Der Spiegel.

CNN said in a statement Thursday that the independent panel of judges who awarded Claas Relotius the Journalist of the Year and Print Journalist of the Year awards four years ago decided unanimously to remove the awards following revelations about his fraud. Moreno told editors he had been suspicious of the sourcing on the story all along and on a subsequent trip to the U.S., he contacted two of the subjects quoted extensively in the article by Relotius.


Relotius told his editors that "it was not about having the next big thing". "My pressure to not be able to fail got ever bigger the more successful I became". In his own words, we are talking about at least 14 inaccurate articles published in Spiegel. Prior to joining the magazine, Relotius had written not only for Reportagen, but a raft of outlets including: Cicero, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag, the Financial Times Deutschland, Die Tageszeitung, Die Welt, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Weltwoche, Zeit Online, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

In 2014, he was named CNN's Journalist of the Year for an article that appeared in a Swiss magazine. Other tainted articles that won or were nominated for awards involved Iraqi children kidnapped by ISIS and Syrian orphans forced into a Turkish sweatshop.

In reality, she was a waitress in the restaurant owned by her sister- in-law, but was never interviewed.

Spiegel said on Wednesday that it would call on a commission to investigate the case and prevent repeats, but that "even with the best intentions they can't be entirely ruled out". Edition promises to publicly report its findings and recommendations to improve security arrangements.


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