According to KIROTV, freelance writer, Audry Lewis wrote (and eventually got published) a group of newspaper stories sympathetic to HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Seems Scrushy secretly paid Lewis $11,000 to read her articles before publication.
At the time, Scrushy was on trial for alleged involvement in a $2.7 billion accounting fraud scheme at the chain of health clinics. He was later acquitted.
Which makes me wonder: how far should newspaper reporters go to make sure their facts are “correct.”
I remember working as a stringer for the largest regional newspaper in central Minnesota. More than once, the person I interviewed asked to review an article I’d written about them before it got published. If my subject wanted to review a hard news piece, I didn’t let them review anything.
Soft human interest articles? Yup. Occasionally I allowed the interviewee to review it before publication. However, I rarely changed anything I’d written based on their requests.
But to be hired by someone under trial to present their “side” of the story? I’d say that was wrong.
Here’s the link: