Former New York Times Reporter Jayson Blair, Who Engaged in Blatant Plagiarism, is the Subject of New PBS Documentary

Former New York Times journalist Jayson Blair in 2004. (Los Angeles Times / January 21, 2014)
Former New York Times journalist Jayson Blair in 2004. (Los Angeles Times / January 21, 2014)

Samantha Grant has a message for viewers who tune in to her documentary “A Fragile Trust: Plagiarism, Power and Jayson Blair,” which examines the case of the disgraced New York Times journalist whose plagiarism and invention of sources tarnished the newspaper’s reputation and led to the downfall of two top editors.Be careful about believing Jayson Blair.

Grant’s film features exclusive interviews with Blair speaking in rare detail about the events in 2003. She said viewers should be skeptical of his account.

“You should take what he says with a grain of salt,” said Grant, who said Blair at various times was both forthcoming and evasive during the course of three interviews between 2007 and 2011.

Getting him to talk about his stint at the Times was extremely challenging and required persistence, she said.

The film premieres May 5 on PBS‘ “Independent Lens” and explores not only the rise and fall of Blair but also the extensive effect the incident had on the world of journalism. Because Blair was a young African American reporter, the scandal also had a chilling effect on efforts to diversify major metropolitan newsrooms.

After being declared a wunderkind in the New York Times newsroom in 2003 after a series of acclaimed stories, Blair was discovered to have boldly copied the work of other reporters and to have supplemented his own reporting with fabricated details. Mental illness and cocaine fueled his actions, he said.

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SOURCE:  Greg Braxton 
The Los Angeles Times: Show Tracker