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Reporter's Resignation Is Accepted by N.Y. Times

May 29, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — The New York Times accepted the resignation of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Rick Bragg on Wednesday after suspending him over a story that carried his byline but was reported largely by a freelancer.

The resignation comes as the Times tries to rebound from a scandal in which the paper found fraud, plagiarism and inaccuracies in 36 of 73 recent articles written by reporter Jayson Blair.

Bragg, who had blamed his suspension on what he called a "torturous atmosphere" at the newspaper since Blair's May 1 resignation, said he offered his resignation Wednesday evening.

Executive Editor Howell Raines said in an e-mail to the editorial staff late Wednesday that the resignation had been accepted.

"We know this has been a difficult period," Raines added. "We have full confidence in our staff and will be talking with you more in short order."

Speaking to Associated Press from New Orleans, where he is based as a national correspondent, Bragg had said earlier Wednesday that he planned to follow through on a decision -- made before the controversy erupted -- to leave the newspaper, probably this summer, to write two books.

The Times reportedly suspended Bragg for two weeks over his handling of a feature story about Florida oystermen.

The paper said in an editor's note Friday that although Bragg wrote the June 15 article and visited the Gulf Coast town of Apalachicola, a freelancer handled interviewing and other reporting at the scene.

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