CTSPJ Concludes Independent Review

Dear Connecticut SPJ members,

On June 29, we informed you the Connecticut SPJ board had launched an independent investigation into two entries in the 2011 Connecticut SPJ Excellence in Journalism Awards contest, after it came to light the entrant, Paresh Jha, had fabricated sources in 25 articles for the New Canaan News.

Jha won a third place award for feature writing and a first place award for in-depth reporting.

Our independent review, conducted by media lawyer and Syracuse professor Roy Gutterman, confirmed what Hearst officials originally told us about the entries: Sources in the in-depth reporting entry had been fabricated. And, all sources included in the feature writing entry were legitimate.

Those confirmations came through Gutterman’s review of all sources, as well as an interview with Paresh Jha, himself, about the entries.

Click here to download a PDF version of the final report.

After careful deliberation and additional questions to Gutterman about his review, the CTSPJ Board of Directors on July 29 voted to revoke Jha’s first place award for the in-depth reporting entry.

The third-place award for the feature writing entry will stand, as our investigation found no evidence of deception.

Connecticut SPJ is dedicated to preserving the integrity of our long-time contest, and to ensuring the continued confidence of journalists in our future contests.

We condemn all unethical practices and continue to applaud all media organizations for their swift action on ridding the industry of any violators.

Regards,

Jodie Mozdzer, CTSPJ President

Cindy Simoneau, CTSPJ Immediate Past President

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