Published: Fri, December 21, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

German reporter stripped of CNN awards over fraud

German reporter stripped of CNN awards over fraud

Relotius, who had previously been awarded CNN's "Journalist of the Year" award, said he was "sick" and "needed help".

The fabricated articles include a phone interview with the parents of free agent National Football League player Colin Kaepernick and a story about an American woman who claims to have volunteered to witness the executions of death row inmates.

Claas Relotius, a reporter and editor, falsified his articles on a grand scale and even invented characters, deceiving both readers and his colleagues.

In 2014 he was given the CNN Journalist of the Year Award, but now his reputation lies in tatters. According to a Q&A also published by the magazine Wednesday, Relotius identified 14 specific stories that included fictional dialogues, "character collages" and other incorrect or misleading details.

The news outlet apologised to its readers for the deceit and described it as "a low point in Spiegel's 70-year history". On Wednesday, Der Spiegel announced he had resigned after seven years at the magazine.

At least 14 of 60 articles authored by Relotius for Der Spiegel are at least partly fabricated.

Moreno raised the alarm at Der Spiegel and used another reporting trip to the USA to track down some of the people quoted in the article to find out they had never met Relotius.

Relotius was sacked, and Der Spiegel is sounding the alarm that the 55 articles they published of his work since 2014 are now being heavily scrutinized.

"It wasn't because of the next big thing".

Earlier this year, Relotius received the German Reporter of the Year award for his story about a young Syrian boy, which was praised for its "lightness, poetry and relevance".

"My pressure to not be able to fail got ever bigger the more successful I became".

One of Germany's most popular papers, Der Spiegel, has found itself at the center of a scandal involving one of its top reporters who was caught fabricating elements of his stories. It says he "committed his deception intentionally, methodically, and with criminal intent".

Anderson and Jake Krohn, who co-authored the Medium piece, are receiving global praise for their rebuttal article exposing the fraudulent Der Spiegel story.

Juan Moreno, who reported the story together with Relotius for DER SPIEGEL, grew distrustful of his colleague.

"During his time as a freelance journalist, his work got published by other media including Cicero, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag, the Financial Times Deutschland, Die Tageszeitung, Die Welt, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Weltwoche, Zeit Online and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung", the magazine said. Meanwhile, the magazine's management has set up a special investigative commission consisting of what it calls "experienced internal and external persons" to look through all of the journalist's pieces and prepare recommendations to improve "safety mechanisms".

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