Former CNN 'Journalist Of The Year' Fired After Making-Up Stories For Years
An award-winning German journalist has been fired from one of the largest magazines in Europe, after revelations he had been falsifying his stories for years.
Claas Relotius who has been working at Germany's Der Spiegel magazine for the last seven years, has confessed to fabricating and inventing facts in many of his articles.
"Truth and lie are muddled in his texts," Der Spiegel said in a scathing report on its website on Wednesday, after announcing it had terminated the star reporter's contract immediately.
Relotius told his editors that his actions were not spurred by wanting to have "the next big thing", but rather from a fear of failing.
"The pressure not to fail became bigger the more successful I became," he said, according to Der Spiegel.
The reporter -- who had worked for numerous other European publications, and won several international awards, including a prestigious CNN accolade -- had published close to 60 stories for Der Spiegel since 2011.
Just last year he won the European Press Prize Distinguished Writing Award, and in 2013 and 2016 he won the German reporter award in the category "Best story of the year".
The magazine said not all of his stories were fabricated, but others were "completely invented or embellished with manipulated quotes or other fact-fantasy".
Der Spiegel said the incident marked a "low point" in its 70-year history.
It cited Relotius as saying at least 14 of the articles he wrote for Spiegel, some of which won awards, did not meet journalistic standards.
Some of the falsified stories included articles about a wrongfully detained Guantanamo inmate, children kidnapped by Islamic State, and a woman attending the execution of a prisoner in the United States.
"Claas Relotius acted with intent, methodically and with a high level of criminal energy," Der Spiegel said, adding he had written about and cited people he had never met or spoken to.
Relotius most recently won an award in early December, for a story about a child in war-torn Syria.
The German reporters’ association, which handed out the award, said it was “aghast” and “angry” about the news.
Der Spiegel said Relotius’ senior editors confronted him after a fellow journalist at the magazine voiced suspicions.
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