Yale Daily News Finishes Membis Investigation; IvyGate Questions Some of the Findings

The Yale Daily News is through investigating Liane Membis.  The former Yale University student was fired from her Wall Street Journal internship in June for fabricating sources and quotes.

The Daily News boasted 41 bylined stories from Membis.  Given her WSJ misdeeds, editor-in-chief Max de La Bruyère promised a comprehensive examination.  Roughly four months later, the review is complete.  The verdict, on spec: Nothing too flagrant.

As the paper explains to readers, “After fact-checking her articles and contacting as many of the sources with whom she talked as possible, we have found no evidence of any fabrication. We have, however, found three instances in which Membis may have altered direct quotations from her sources.”

IvyGate is unconvinced about the investigation’s comprehensiveness and some of its findings.  In a post last night, the man/myth/Ivy League legend J.K. Trotter pokes some perceived holes in the proceedings.  He specifically points out a 2009 piece Membis wrote centered on her apparent stint as a sugar baby (a young woman who dates a much older man in exchange for financial benefits).  It led to, ahem, confusion over its factuality.

The Daily News confirms, “In an Aug. 31, 2009 email, she said, ‘My story is not exaggerated, so no correction is needed.’ But in a March 2, 2011 email, she wrote, ‘The piece . . . was originally written under the pretense of it being a fictional piece by the Scene staff; it was edited without my presence and published in the fall of 2009, with exaggerations which were not true.’  Given those conflicting accounts, we have added an editor’s note to the article.”

Trotter doesn’t think the ed. note is far enough: “de la Bruyère leaves a laundry list of questions unanswered. Among them: why are her statements in 2009 and 2011 so contradictory, and what occasioned them in the first place? Which ‘exaggerations’ is she referring to? If the article is exaggerated, why was it corrected only a few days ago? Under which context did Membis actually write this article? And most importantly: is what she wrote true?”


The 187-Word Correction: Fired Wall Street Journal Intern Had ‘Brutal’ Note Added to Yale Daily News Story

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