Columnist Fired for Changing Subject’s Name

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By: E&P Staff

The Janesville (Wis.) Gazette has fired one of its columnists for changing the name of a subject without permission.

In an explanation posted on the paper’s Web site Thursday, Gazette Editor Scott W. Angus said that outdoor columnist Dick Ellis “made a decision two weeks ago that hurt our credibility.”

Bob Swann, a subject in Ellis’ Sept. 15 column, asked and was granted a fictitious name in order to protect his identity.

“Ellis did not confer with Gazette editors before changing Swann’s name, and he didn’t inform them,” Angus wrote.

“The Gazette believes that full disclosure is essential in a credible newspaper,” Angus wrote. “We would never condone including deceptive information in a story. After a series of well-publicized scandals, newspapers are under greater scrutiny than ever, and they have an unequivocal responsibility to be honest with their readers. … We believe this is the best and strongest way to assure our readers that we have the highest ethical standards and deserve their trust.”

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