On May 13, 2009 the Ahwatukee Foothills News ran an article
about Vinayak Gorur, a local guy who, at the age of 21, had become the youngest ever sous chef at the upscale Compass Restaurant in downtown Phoenix. But a few days ago, the paper ran an apology
, admitting that Gorur wasn't really a sous chef at the Compass. Gorur had invented the entire tale. Why isn't clear.
A few things evidently went wrong in the paper's fact checking process. First, they never called the Compass Restaurant to verify Gorur's claim. Instead, the reporter interviewed someone (whose phone number was supplied by Gorur) who claimed to be Gorur's boss. It's not known who this person was.
Second, when the paper asked Gorur if they could take some photos of him at work, he said it was too dark there and convinced them to take photos of him preparing food at home. That should have set off their b.s. alert, but instead the paper agreed to send a photographer to his house.
The reporter, Krystin Wiggs, wrote:
I may be a young and relatively inexperienced reporter, but the other reporters in my office have never come across a scenario quite like this one. Not one reporter in my office could think of a time in their careers when a source had made up such an elaborate hoax and then conned a reporter.
Cranky Media Guy
comments: "From personal experience, I can tell you that when you bullshit a reporter who is too lazy to do any fact-checking, it's always described later as an 'elaborate hoax.'"