Reporter Faces Termination for Altering UGA Football Abuse Story

Reporter Alan Judd has been terminated by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) for his reporting on alleged sexual abuse within the University of Georgia’s football program.

The AJC received criticism for an article published on June 27. In response, the university wrote a letter demanding that the newspaper retract what it considered false allegations.

AJC Acknowledges Errors in Controversial Abuse Allegations Article

Although the AJC refused to entirely retract the story, it admitted that the original article did not meet the newspaper’s journalistic standards.

The AJC made several corrections to the article and added a note on July 19, 2023, stating:

“The title, subheading, and parts of this article’s content were changed after the AJC determined that some claims in the original piece did not align with AJC’s editorial standards.”

In a follow-up article, the AJC retracted the statement that 11 players stayed with the team after the abuse allegations, as it could not verify the specific number of players.

Another correction was made after the AJC discovered that two quotes had been combined into one, even though they were spoken minutes apart.

However, the AJC maintains that combining the quotes did not change their meaning. It clarified, “Linking the sentences did not alter the essence of the quote, yet the manner in which it was delivered to our readers did not live up to the AJC standards.”

Editor-in-Chief Apologizes to University and Readership for Mistakes

Despite firing the reporter, the AJC stated that an internal review found no evidence of fabrication in the story, contrary to the university’s claims in their letter.

Editor-in-Chief Leroy Chapman stressed the importance of editorial integrity, saying, “Our editorial integrity and the trust our community has in us is at the core of who we are.”

After receiving the university’s letter, a team of editors and lawyers thoroughly reviewed each claim and any supporting material for the original story.

The investigation uncovered errors, which the newspaper promptly corrected.

Chapman acknowledged the newspaper’s shortcomings in this case and concluded:

“We are obligated to uphold the very standards we have set. It is important to recognize when we fall short. That is indeed the case here. We extend our sincere apologies to the university and our readership for the oversights.”

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Written by Western Reader

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