San Antonio Music Columnist Resigns Amid Investigation

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A longtime music writer and columnist for the San Antonio Express-News resigned this week as newspaper executives investigated reports that he hired another writer to produce more than 100 stories and columns passed off as his own.

Ramiro Burr, 52, covered the local and international music scenes for 25 years, working at the now-defunct San Antonio Light from 1983 to 1993 and then for the Express-News. He was a local correspondent for Billboard magazine and the author of a 1999 book on Tejano and regional Mexican music.

Robert Rivard, editor of the Express-News, said that Burr used at least one writer who did not receive credit for work going back to 2001.

“Ramiro decided on his own to resign just as our investigation was concluding and we were preparing to take appropriate action,” said Rivard in a report on the Express-News’ Web site. “We have a zero-tolerance policy whenever someone on our staff presents work as their own that is not their own.”

In a statement to colleagues Tuesday, Burr wrote that as a syndicated columnist, he was governed by other rules but apologized for breaking any of the newspaper’s policies.

“I may have been a little overzealous, or overreached in trying to be the best reporter/syndicated columnist I could be,” he said.

In April, lawyers for writer Douglas Shannon contacted Rivard seeking credit for stories Shannon said he wrote for Burr from 2001 to 2003.

Shannon was supplied to Burr by a local public relations firm representing a musical group that fell within Burr’s beat. Shannon’s lawyer said he transcribed and translated Spanish interviews conducted since 2006.

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