Tacoma Reporter Quits After Editors Question Sources

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(AP) A veteran reporter for The News Tribune of Tacoma resigned after editors questioned whether sources quoted in some of his stories existed.

Bart Ripp resigned two weeks ago, the newspaper said. He had been a journalist for 32 years, the past 15 with the News Tribune (Click for QuikCap) as a feature writer, historian and restaurant critic.

“I don’t really want to say anything,” Ripp said Monday when contacted by The Associated Press.

An editor working on one of Ripp’s columns several weeks ago was unable to verify the existence of five people quoted in the story, said News Tribune Editor Dave Zeeck.

Ripp said he had contacted the people by e-mail but could not produce copies of the messages, Zeeck said. A review revealed 10 other sources mentioned in two restaurant reviews and three features during the past 18 months who could not be verified through phone books or database searches, he said.

Zeeck said he met with Ripp and was prepared to give him an opportunity to find the people he quoted.

“At that point he just resigned on the spot. He didn’t argue or defend the story,” Zeeck said. “He just turned to me and said: ‘I’m done. I’m going to resign.'”

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