The Intercept editor-in-chief Betsy Reed apologized to its readers in a note on The Intercept's website after ex-reporter Juan Thompson was discovered to have fabricates quotes and created fake mail accounts. A tweet elicited responses from readers as a link of the apology was published on Twitter.
The Intercept is an online publication that was founded by the billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. One of its writers, Glenn Greenwald, who writes mostly about national security issues, has won a Pulitzer Prize and is well known.
The Intercept prides itself on bringing about transparency and accountability as it claims on its website, and on Feb. 2 it would appear that they did just that.
In a piece headed 'A Note to Readers' published last Tuesday, editor in chief Betsy Reed apologized for the actions of the reporter in question, Juan Thompson. She explained in a matter of fact way how Thompson had fabricated quotes from people who claimed he never interviewed them, and how he had said to have interviewed people that could not be found. It had been discovered that Thompson had created fake email accounts, including one in Reed's name.
As news of the notice went up on Twitter, most readers appreciated the grace with which The Intercept took responsibility. Some tweeted criticisms regarding ethical and journalistic practices of The Intercept, but overall the drama-free, transparent approach that the Intercept took seemed to have gone down well.
To correct the mistake, The Intercept retracted one story entirely and published corrections to a few more published by Thompson. The article that was retracted was based around an interview with Scott Roof, an alleged cousin of Dylann Roof. Dylann Roof awaits trial for murdering nine people in a church in Charleston last June. Scott Roof is quoted in the article to have said that Dylann Roof's racially motivated hatred goes back to a time when he was rejected by a girl in favor of a black man.
The Intercept published a retraction on top of the story that said no cousin of the name Scott Roof had been found to exist after talking with two members of Dylann Roof's family.
In the note, Ms Reed said that Thompson had not cooperated during the review, accepting blame for fabricating email accounts and messages but standing by his published work.
Editor in chief Reed ended the note by expressing regret over the situation, personally taking full responsibility and hoping to maintain the readers' trust by producing journalism they can be proud of.