Disgraced former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair will be addressing a Journalism Ethics Institute in Virginia next month.
As amazingly reported by Mediaite Tuesday:
Hard as it may be to believe, one of this decade’s biggest disgraces has been asked to present a speech on the very subject that was his downfall...Blair will travel to Washington and Lee next Friday to give a speech entitled “Lessons Learned.”
The Rockridge Weekly went into greater detail:
Blair resigned from the Times after an investigation found that he had plagiarized and fabricated major portions of stories that he had written during four years with the Times. Some of the stories that he covered in this manner were such major news events as the D.C. sniper case and the rescue of POW Jessica Lynch.
“Inviting Jayson Blair to keynote this institute was definitely a departure for us,” said Edward Wasserman, the Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics at W&L. “In the past, we've brought heroes to Lexington, people of great accomplishment and stature, such as Hodding Carter, Helen Thomas and Lowell Bergman, and people who stood up to pressure in the name of principled journalism, such as Matt Cooper and my W&L faculty colleague Toni Locy, both of whom faced jail time because they refused to give up the names of sources they had promised to protect.
“Jayson Blair, on the other hand, was at the center of one of the signature journalism scandals of this still-new century, and there's no way to imagine that his role in it was heroic,” Wasserman continued. “When I approached him with the invitation, he said that although he has not spoken publicly about the affair that led to his dismissal from the New York Times, this might be the right time and right occasion. My expectation is that he'll talk not just about his own susceptibilities, but about the pressures and temptations that might induce ambitious and talented young journalists elsewhere in the business to do the wrong thing.”
Maybe he should end with Columbia University's new journalism ethics hip-hop hit, "J-School State of Mind."