The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) issued a statement Wednesday to say it has «issued corrections» to a story that investigated current and former members of the Georgia football team.
The author, Alan Judd, has been «fired for violating the organization’s journalistic standards,» the outlet said.
The AJC denied Georgia’s demand to retract the article, but detailed the corrections it made.
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Judd’s article, originally titled «UGA Soccer Program Rallys as Players Accused of Abusing Women,» claimed that 11 players remained on the team after reported violent encounters with women and/or the school. However, the AJC says that the «‘precise count of 11 players’ could not be substantiated under AJC standards.
Because of this, several paragraphs were removed and the headline of the story was changed, according to the AJC.
He the headline now says«The UGA football program has recovered in two incidents in which players were accused of abusing women,» as the AJC says the two confirmed cases Judd wrote about were «accurate and newsworthy.» «.
In the school’s official demand for a retraction of the story, it said Judd arranged quotes from a police interview with 16-year-old recruit Jamaal Jarrett to play on his «false narrative.» The AJC investigation into the quote appeared to be siding with the university.
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«In a second error, the article incorrectly conflated two statements a detective made minutes apart into a single quote,» the statement said. «Connecting the sentences did not change the meaning of the quote, but the way it was presented to readers did not meet AJC’s standards.»
“Our editorial integrity and the trust our community has in us is at the core of who we are,” AJC Editor-in-Chief Leroy Chapman said in a statement. «After receiving the letter from the university, we assigned our team of editors and attorneys to carefully review each claim in the nine-page document we received, along with additional source material that supported the original story. We identified errors that did not comply with our standards, and we correct them.»
«A fundamental part of our mission is to hold individuals and institutions accountable. It is a responsibility we take seriously,» Chapman continued. «We must hold ourselves to this same standard and recognize when we fall short, which we have here.»
«We apologize to the university and to our readers for the errors.»
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The university said the article included «mistakes, unsubstantiated allegations, innuendo, and possibly even fabrications» and contained a «reckless disregard for the truth and its imposition of a damaging narrative that is not supported by the facts.» But the AJC said they found no «instances of fabrication in the story.»
«I am proud of the work I have done for AJC over the past 24 years and I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve the community,» Judd said in a statement.
Georgia won its second straight national championship this past January.