“We got the tip [on the KFC hoax] last Wednesday,” Laurel (Miss.) Leader-Call owner Jim Cegielski told me in a phone chat this afternoon. “We were reluctant [to go with it] at first, but only because we didn’t have all the sources we needed. Once we got the strongest sources to cooperate with us, we were 100% positive we had the story. …It took us about five days to put together.”

The 7,500-circulation thrice-weekly paper has gotten calls from national media outlets — “CNN interviewed me,” says Cegielski — but the journalist who exposed the hoax isn’t around to talk about his scoop. Managing editor Sean Murphy went from the KFC probe to covering politics. “He’s on the bus with the [Senate] candidates,” says editor Mark Thornton.

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