Reporter Claas Relotius quits Der Spiegel magazine for making up stories

Claas Relotius, 33, who has since been fired from the German news magazine Der Spiegel, admitted to making up more than a dozen stories, including the one he wrote past year on Fergus Falls after President Donald Trump's inauguration, according to Der Spiegel.

Spiegel said Relotius acknowledged fabricating parts of at least 14 stories, including a piece about an American woman who he said volunteered to witness the executions of death row inmates, such as one in Texas at the beginning of the year.

Among them, "The Last Witness", about an American who allegedly travels to an execution as a witness, "Lion Children", about two Iraqi children who have been kidnapped and reeducated by the Islamic State, and "Number 440", a feature about alleged prisoners at the USA detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Reporter and editor Claas Relotius, 33, resigned from Der Spiegel after the deception was uncovered and he confessed, the Guardian reports.

When one of Germany's most trusted publications, Der Spiegel, pushed out a news alert Wednesday, the subject was its own failing: The magazine revealed that one of its star reporters, Claas Relotius, likely embellished his coverage and allegedly fabricated entire events for years before resigning on Monday.

Juan Moreno, a journalist who reported on a story about an American vigilante group that patrols the United States-Mexico border with Relotius for Der Speigel, brought his concerns to editors after the story was published in November.

Relotius was sacked, and Der Spiegel is sounding the alarm that the 55 articles they published of his work since 2014 are now being heavily scrutinized.

Relotius initially tried to protect himself by producing fraudulent proof but as the evidence against him mounted, he eventually admitted his deceit.

"I am sick and I need to get help", Relotius reportedly told the magazine.


Der Spiegel said the incident marked a "low point in the 70-year history" of the magazine and apologised for his actions. Claas Relotius paints pictures in the reader's mind that unfold like a film, ' said Franz Fischlin, chairman of the judging panel.

In his confession to his employer, he said: "It wasn't because of the next big thing".

"My pressure to not be able to fail got ever bigger the more successful I became".

Earlier this month, he was named German Reporter of the Year for a story about a young Syrian boy.

Der Spiegel's motto is "Say it like it is".

But at a time when political parties are deeply polarised on both sides of the Atlantic, the Spiegel controversy could also bolster those who now regularly portray reporting as "fake news".

"The management of DER SPIEGEL will set up a commission of experienced internal and external persons to investigate the indications of falsification", the magazine said.


Popular

CONNECT