Don't let the facts get in the way
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Jayson Blair is 27 years old. He was, until recently, a reporter for The New York Times.
He lost his job a couple of weeks ago when it was discovered he, in the words of Newsweek magazine, "lifted quotes, made up scenes and faked interviews."
It is alleged that Blair, whom many of his superiors described as mediocre at best, somehow managed to snag some of the best stories floating around, including the Washington sniper case.
Blair then proceeded to make things up, all in the name of a good story.
And then he got caught, embarrassing his paper and his bosses.
It seems that for months people had been telling the bosses at The Times that Blair wasn't qualified to do the job.
"He should not be allowed to write for The Times. Ever," one editor told bosses.
But for some reason, Blair was allowed to keep writing, making things up all the way.
I don't know Jayson Blair (but the editor of The New York Times, Howell Raines, is from Alabama, in case you're curious) but I imagine he had a pretty good job.
He was a hotshot writer at one of the nation's largest daily newspapers, covering some of the biggest stories in the country. He was travelling all over the world, living off an expense account and what I imagine was a pretty healthy paycheck. He had the world at his fingertips and now he's out of a job and there's a vacancy at The New York Times.
And that's when it hit me…
Right here and now, I would like to officially throw my hat in the ring to fill Blair's job.
Don't get me wrong. I love my job here, but here we hold to the bizarre notion that we should tell the truth.
Sometimes, the truth gets in the way of a really good story. I hate it when that happens.
If I filled Blair's job, I could travel the world, shop a lot and then, when it came time to write a story, just sit down and pound something out.
I could write every story in, oh, 20 minutes or so, and then go have a fancy lunch at some swanky place and charge the whole thing to my expense account.
"Snow and sleet fell on the abandoned wooden shack as the young mother held her toddler to her. It has been weeks since the electricity was turned off and days since the two had eaten. The child's father left before she was born and the young mother relied on the state to support her family."
See? That's dramatic and sounds really good. The fact that it's not factual really shouldn't matter at all.
So, Mr. Raines, I will be waiting by the phone. And just so you know, I'm already working on my first story.
"Bombs fell around me in Baghdad…"