(AP) The sports editor of the Roswell Daily Record has been fired for fabricating part of a news story about a golf tournament in which he quoted a fictional character from the movie “Caddyshack.”
And in Colorado, a newspaper dropped a contributor’s weekly column after an author in California alleged he had lifted whole passages from her book.
Gregory M. Jones was dismissed by the Daily Record on June 17, the day after his article about a Father’s Day golf tournament at the Roswell Country Club appeared on the sports page, Editor Mike Bush said.
“He got a bunch of scores and wanted to make it more interesting,” Bush said Thursday. He said he did not know if Jones attended the tournament.
He said the newspaper insists on accuracy and objectivity and “we don’t tolerate anything less than that.”
Jones, 24, said he was shocked by his firing and did not intend to deceive his editors or readers.
“It was tongue in cheek. It was sports. I was trying to be light and breezy. I was trying to put out a story that people might like to read,” he said in a telephone interview.
Jones was hired in July 2002 as a reporter, was promoted to state-business editor in November, and became sports editor in April.
Bush said the story contained three fictitious paragraphs referring to a Carl Spangler who claimed to work at the course. In “Caddyshack,” Bill Murray played a golf course worker named Carl Spackler.
Jones quoted Spangler as saying he invented a new kind of grass for the tournament. The quotation in Jones’ story is taken directly from “Caddyshack”:
“‘This is a hybrid … of bluegrass, Kentucky bluegrass, featherbed bent, and northern California sensemilia (sic),’ Spangler said. ‘The amazing stuff about this, is that you can play 36 holes on it in the afternoon, take it home, and just get stoned to the bejeezus-belt that night on the stuff.'”
Sinsemilla is a potent form of marijuana.
Bush said the Daily Record received “a couple of complaints” about the story. The newspaper ran a correction.
In Boulder, Colo., the Daily Camera discontinued Neil Rosenthal’s column after the newspaper received the complaint from Sandy Hotchkiss, a California resident and author of the book Why Is It Always About You? Saving Yourself from the Narcissists in Your Life.
Rosenthal, a family therapist, cited the book in his column but also used passages from it verbatim without using quotes, Editor and Publisher Colleen Conant told readers Saturday.
She said she met with Rosenthal last week. “Rosenthal admits to an error in judgment, but believes he adequately sourced the material he used from Hotchkiss’ book because twice in the columns he referred to the book,” Conant wrote.
“Rosenthal regrets his actions and I am convinced that it was never his intention to plagiarize,” Conant added.
Rosenthal did not immediately return a phone message left at his office Monday by The Associated Press.