Liane Membis was fired from her internship at the Wall Street Journal because she made up quotes for a story about a bridge, but that may just be the tip of the iceberg in her history of journalistic troubles.
The story was about the re-opening of the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge in Manhattan, published in the WSJ on June 17. By the end of the day, the Journal had replaced the article with an editor's note, that read in part:
Many of the names contained in the article about the re-opening of the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge in Manhattan were fabricated by reporting intern Liane Membis, and the quotes couldn't be independently verified. Ms. Membis is no longer working at The Wall Street Journal.
(You can view the original article here)
The Journal also removed several of Membis' other articles written during her three weeks interning with the publication.
"For me, I know personally it was an honest reporting mistake that I made," Membis told the Yale Daily News, where she was an undergrad staff writer. "This is definitely something I’ve never done before."
Membis encountered problems with her articles at Yale too.
As a freshman in 2009, Membis wrote an article about Yale’s Marsh Botanic Garden that, as the IvyGate blog points out, required a lengthy correction. The correction comes in at 187 words, while the article was 795 words.
Dan Reimold, at the College Media Matters blog, wrote about the lengthy correction, "I have to agree with [IvyGate's J.K.] Trotter. In its entirety, fairly brutal."
The Huffington Post reposted, with permission, a story first published by the New Journal at Yale. However, after HuffPost editors discovered sources in the original piece denied having made statements attributed to them by Membis, the story was removed. The New Journal then removed it from its website, replacing it with an editor's note as well. Since then, Yale Daily News editors have reopened their investigation into Membis' previous work to verify its authenticity.
Membis did not return requests for comment through her Yale email address. She shut down her Twitter account and her personal website. She was found on LinkedIn, where she lists herself as a "Wordsmith/Visionary Entrepreneur," but the only way to contact her there was through paying for the premium LinkedIn subscription.
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