Cape Cod Times Publisher Peter Meyer issued an apology to readers Tuesday night. Meyer said the paper broke readers' trust. “An internal review has found that one of our reporters wrote dozens of stories that included one or more sources who do not exist,” Meyer said.
A recent Veterans Day story written by Karen Jeffrey on Nov. 12 sparked an audit of her work. Times editors used public record databases, voter rolls and town assessor’s records to review Jeffrey’s stories and to attempt to locate the sources.
During the audit editors uncovered proof that Jeffrey made up at least 69 people in 34 stories since 1998 when the paper began archiving stories electronically.
According to Meyer, Jeffrey admitted to using false names and fabricating sources; the paper no longer employs her.
Meyer said the paper will take steps to prevent incidents like this in the future. Editors will spot check sources more frequently by choosing stories at random and confirming sources. The paper will also hold ethics training sessions. Meyer encouraged readers to inform them of any mistakes.