Oh, wait. I don’t have a PhD. Oops.

What a great way to end a lousy week at the AJC. Saturday’s AJC piece about Grady interim CEO Pam Stephenson was Exhibit A in why this newspaper is worth saving, and why it’s still the most relevant news outlet in town.

The article by Heather Vogell hilariously chronicled Stephenson’s evasions against mounting evidence that she’d puffed / falsified her education. When she was unable to provide documentation of her curriculum vitae, she instead issued a statement moaning about “daily harassment” by the AJC. It reeked of a scoundrel caught in the act.

The details are remarkable. Stephenson claims two law degrees and a PhD. The newspaper found evidence only of a single Masters degree. Stephenson blamed some of the discrepancy on a “word processing error” caused by Grady’s PR staff. The hospital’s PR crew has got to top the list of those who can’t wait to see her leave.

We’re amazed at the schadenfreude shown among a small handful of LAF readers rooting for the demise of this newspaper. If it weren’t for the AJC, Stephenson’s absurd $600,000 buyout might still be secret. Its expose of the possible falsification of her resume may be grounds to nullify her contract and save a nice handful of public money.

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About live apt fire

Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

10 thoughts on “Oh, wait. I don’t have a PhD. Oops.

  1. rptrcub

    “Daily harassment” = “you caught me.”

    As much as I’m a print person and I think the demise of the AJC and the American newspaper sucks (though it’ll probably be for the best in the end), I’m sure TV could have done this as well (I’m thinking WSB or WAGA, specifically — or anyone with an understanding of the Open Records Act and the willingness to keep on it).

  2. Rodney Ho

    I do want to say we have more reporters than all of the local stations combined and even after our cutbacks, that will remain the case–for now. So whether someone at WSB or WAGA would have done it or figured it out is a big question mark. We have a person dedicated day in and day out to following Grady. That’s how she was able to dig that up. I don’t think a TV station could set aside the resources to do that. And would someone have ‘the willingness’ to keep on it if they aren’t being paid or have some sort of ulterior objective?

    Whether you agree or not agree with the politics of the paper’s editorial pages, there is a need for watchdog journalism, to ensure people in powerful positions aren’t taking advantage of taxpayer money. Thank you, Doug, for saying very much the same.

  3. Scott Hedeen

    how big is yr readership? I hope every newspaper person reading this watched the last season of THE WIRE. If you didn’t you owe yrself a wake up call to the reality of the media in the modern realm. TV or print… or any medium… is based on who reads… when. Guess what? America reads… never. It sucks. I know.

  4. spaceyg

    Doug, Doug, Doug. What do I have to do to drag you kicking and screaming into the 21st century? You’re doing fabulous work here; Lordy knows, I was the first to recognize and champion it.

    But sometimes you don’t know when to just shut-up and let your point make itself. When you trot-out that same “woe is me” verbiage about “what are we going to do without big newspapers to, like, find out stuff for us itty bitty little dumb people way down here?” you sound like just another tired, old, grizzled, former, journo-type who’s had the sheer life and inspiration drained-out of him by the crush of bureaucracy he had to endure for a tired, long career at, say, some ‘ole Cox MSM plantation.

    Dude, you think old, you ARE old. Think otherwise, and who knows what might unfold? Or “be exposed?” Much more than some dopey creative resume writing that’s fer sure.

    Let’s review, yet again, some of the ways the info world is flourishing quite well without benefit of ink-ridden MSM newspaper plantations: Case #1 – City of Dunwoody. Happened because of indie media (Dunwoody Crier) and a blog called Dunwoody North.

    U.S. Justice Dept. and AG Gonzales: laid low and laid-off because of being dogged by a blogger, long before MSM picked back up the issues there.

    Those ridiculous Julia Wallace memos-from-hell that circulate every single time she hits the “Send” button? Where do we all read ’em? On a blog. (Romenesko)

    I could go on and on, but I get tired of wailing on that poor old dead mule. Bless his heart. Got us all through some tough times no doubt.

    Getting on to the point here… if info about a falsified resume is going to get out, believe you me, it’ll get out now. In numerous and creative way. (Surely you’ve had a few juicy morsels flow in through your own Tip Jar here, right? Right!)

    We simply no longer need a big, honkin’ newspaper plantation-protected journalist to tell us which way the wind blows. And they know it over at the AJC better’n anyone. (Also, I wouldn’t mess with ’em too much about right now. They’re scared and frightened and mean as snakes. For good reasons.)

    When they all finally stop cowering under Granny Annie Cox’s full-bennies-for-life-and-a-pony-too skirts like they were guaranteed a classy journalist gig forever and ever Amen, and finally get around to pooling resources and talent on their own, maybe starting some blogs and media sites and indie reporting and networking and shucking and jiving all on their own, and commence to creating some hot new interesting, techno-creative media and investigative pursuits all by themselves, THEN you can go and f with ’em all you want.

    And hon, if we can do it, anyone can. ‘Nuff said. Gotta go resume tanning!

  5. live apt fire Post author

    @ spacey: Yesterday I watched part of a 1970s-era documentary on robots. In it, the forward-thinking scientist expert predicted that robots would be in every kitchen by 1987, doing our dishes and cooking our chow.

    Maybe that guy’s a blogger now, sharing your optimism. I toast your optimism. But not your tan. Tanning ain’t healthy, right? I read it in the newspaper once.

  6. LBJ

    Spacey, age may not necessarily bring wisdom, but if you’ve been in the business as long as Live and I have you do see things. I’d like to know what blogger will file the Open Records requests, pay the fees to get the copies, and spend days going through thousands of documents to get the real story. TV barely makes this kind of effort anymore. And God help us when the politicians around here think they can get away with well-concealed dirt.

  7. bigear

    But what blog can you trust? At least with newspapers you purchase it, therefore you are a customer and the customer is always right… right? What I mean is that with a blog, you could be getting anything from the National Enquirer to the New York Times. And since none of the blogs are accountable to the customers, they don’t have the outside preasure to maintain any journalist standards. No offense to LAF… Blogs will play a great part of future newsgathering, but I believe that people will still feel compelled to have a block of media that is the “record” of the days events.

  8. rptrcub

    @ bigear: Therein lies the road ahead of us. As much as there might need to be a source of “record,” (which this can be debated too) the future does not lead to a single universal source that is the Gospel from on high. In the end, there will be torrents of information that no one entity can manage alone. There will be the sources that people pick and choose, and multiple ones at that. For good or for ill, this is where we’re heading.


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