Kelley says he quit USA Today over his own actions
Friday's Weblog focused on the resignation of USA Today reporter Jack Kelley, who is not only the star reporter at that newspaper, but also a star reporter among evangelicals in the mainstream media. Weblog wondered, based on a few offhand comments in Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz's article, whether Kelley's faith might have been a factor in tensions with newspaper management.

In a front-page article in yesterday's Post (the original report on Kelley's resignation only made the front of the Post's "C" section), Kurtz unearths more details. It seems far less likely that religion was a significant factor in USA Today's launch of an investigation into the veracity of Kelley's war reporting, but it does appear to be a factor in Kelley's resignation, as he confessed to "poor judgment" during the paper's investigation.

While trying to assist newspaper management in confirming one of his articles, a 1999 front-page story on evidence of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, he tried to contact two Yugoslav translators who could verify his report. One said she remembered translating the crucial interview between Kelley and human rights activist Natasa Kandic, but couldn't remember any details. A second translator left a voice mail saying she didn't want to get involved in the investigation.

Kelley says that when he tried to contact a third Yugoslav translator to help him contact and convince the unwilling second translator, she volunteered to impersonate her in a phone call to reporter Mark Memmott, who was investigating Kelley's stories.

Kelley agreed.

"I knew it was wrong," Kelley told Kurtz. Two weeks later, Kurtz reports, Kelley confessed and apologized to Memmott, USA Today's ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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