Mike Barnicle Quits Under Fire

Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle resigned from the newspaper Wednesday.

The columnist was forced to resign once editors suspected he made up a 1995 column about two children with cancer, reports CBS News Correspondent Jacqueline Adams. Barnicle was already serving a suspension for lifting material from a best-selling book by comedian George Carlin.

The announcement of his resignation drew cheers and laughter in the Globe newsroom.

Assistant Metro Editor Joe Williams is one of the many staffers heartened by the decision to get rid of Barnicle.

"I think the Globe has to do a lot to win back the trust of the readers," says Williams. "Everyone in the newsroom is willing to do it. But it will take a lot of work."

It has been a rough summer for the news media. It started when a New Republic reporter was fired for making up all or part of 27 stories. Then the Cincinnati Inquirer apologized for a reporter who allegedly broke into the phone-mail system of the Chiquita Banana company to produce negative articles.

AndiIn June, Boston Globe columnist Patricia Smith resigned after admitting to fabricating characters in four of her columns.

Firings and apologies also followed a CNN/Time magazine report alleging that the military used nerve gas against Americans during the Vietnam conflict.

The column that forced Barnicle's resignation was one in which the columnist told the story of two children, one white and one black, who became friends in the hospital. After the black child died, Barnicle wrote, the parents of the white child gave the black child's parents $10,000.

Reader's Digest reportedly attempted to reprint the story, but fact-checkers at the magazine determined that it was "a fabrication." The discrepancy was ignored at the time, but this week a former Reader's Digest editor contacted Globe Editor Matthew V. Storin, reporters at the paper were told.

Barnicle claimed he got the story from a nurse on the ward, but he did not know her name. A check of hospital records showed no record of any black child dying in the month Barnicle recounted.

Barnicle, a columnist for 25 years, was considered by many to be the voice of the working man.


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