Salt Lake City paper fires writer after questioning material
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Salt Lake Tribune fired a reporter for a fishing column that contained material "not original to the writer," the newspaper said Tuesday.
A lawyer for Skip Knowles, the reporter who wrote The Hook column, said he had opened talks with Tribune Editor Nancy Conway on Knowles' firing.
Conway didn't return a call from The Associated Press, and Knowles refused comment.
A note to readers on the front of the paper's state news section Tuesday did not identify the writer or specify what was wrong with the column that gives tips on where to fish.
"It's a personnel matter. We said what we said. I can't elaborate," said Tim Fitzpatrick, the Tribune's managing editor.
Knowles' lawyer, Patrick Shea, read a statement that said, "Skip Knowles disagrees with the decision. We are in good-faith negotiations. We hope the results will allow a continued, positive trajectory of his career."
Bob Springmeyer, an avid fisherman who compiles a weekly newsletter distributed to friends, clients and trout-fishing advocates, said Knowles took information from his reports on fishing at two Montana rivers.
Springmeyer said one fishing tip was "graciously" attributed and didn't feel any attribution was necessary for the other.
"I'm really disappointed to hear about Skip," he said.
Knowles had worked for the Tribune for five years.
In April, the Tribune fired its two lead crime reporters after they were paid $10,000 for collaborating on a National Enquirer story about the Elizabeth Smart abduction. The story was later retracted by the tabloid, and the scandal eventually forced the resignation of Tribune editor James Shelledy.
A year ago, the Tribune demoted its television columnist for plagiarism. Martin Renzhofer said he "wasn't even thinking" when he lifted a 180-word passage from an Internet site.