USA Today yesterday published a remarkable package of stories documenting its internal investigation of the work of Jack Kelley, the paper’s star foreign correspondent. They found:
… strong evidence that Kelley fabricated substantial portions of at least eight major stories, lifted nearly two dozen quotes or other material from competing publications, lied in speeches he gave for the newspaper and conspired to mislead those investigating his work.
Perhaps Kelley’s most egregious misdeed occurred in 2000, when he used a snapshot he took of a Cuban hotel worker to authenticate a story he made up about a woman who died fleeing Cuba by boat. The woman in the photo neither fled by boat nor died, and a USA TODAY reporter located her this month. If Cuban authorities had learned she was the woman in the picture, she says, she could have lost her job and her chance to emigrate.