WSJ Intern Fired for False Quotes

Journal-isms: The Wall Street Journal says the recent Yale graduate made up sources.


Liane Membis, Yale Grad, Is Miss Black America – Connecticut

An intern at the Wall Street Journal who is Miss Black America – Connecticut, graduated from Yale University and said she wanted to “represent African American women in a positive light,” is no longer at the Journal after the newspaper said she fabricated sources and quotes just three weeks into the internship, according to news reports Tuesday.

“The paper wrote that it had removed an article by the intern, Liane Membis, that was published on June 17 because ‘many of the names contained in the article about the re-opening of the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge in Manhattan were fabricated’ and ‘the quotes couldn’t be independently verified.’ The note concluded: ‘Ms. Membis is no longer working at The Wall Street Journal,’ Christine Haughney reported for the New York Times.

Although “Bridging a Local Divide” was pulled from the Journal website, Talking Biz News said it had been provided a copy by a Journal staffer.

The piece includes quotes from East Harlem residents such as:

” ‘Sometimes I just come up on this bridge and stop and look around, right up here on the top,’ said Katrina Maple, 64 years old. ‘It’s calming and relaxing. It feels like we finally got our backyard back.’

On the Washington Post website, Erik Wemple reprinted the quote and asked, “Do people talk like that?

The Wall Street Journal statement said:

Liane Membis was an intern for the Journal for less than three weeks and wrote or contributed to five published pieces — one of which has been removed from our online archives and two of which have been edited to remove quotes that were provided by the intern and that cannot be confirmed. Notes detailing the actions taken have been placed at the original URLs. Ms. Membis is no longer working at The Wall Street Journal,” according to Andrew Beaujon of the Poynter Institute.

“The two other pieces with editor’s notes are ‘Space Shuttle Floats Into Its Manhattan Home’ by Membis, published June 6, and ‘Stop, Frisk in Spotlight’ by Pervaiz Shallwani, published June 10.”