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L.A. firm to publish Blair book

September 11, 2003|From Associated Press

Jayson Blair, the former New York Times reporter who resigned amid accusations of fraud and plagiarism, has a book deal with New Millennium Press, a Los Angeles-based publisher with its own controversial past.

The book, "Burning Down My Master's House," is scheduled to come out in March 2004, with a first printing of more than 200,000, New Millennium Co-President Michael Viner said Wednesday.

Blair resigned from the paper May 1 after filing some three dozen phony or plagiarized stories from October 2002 to April 2003. The scandal surrounding the 27-year-old former national correspondent led to the resignations of Times Executive Editor Howell Raines and Managing Editor Gerald Boyd.

Blair soon announced he was seeking a book deal, but several New York publishers said they were not interested. Viner said Wednesday that he was not concerned about the reliability of Blair's memoir.

"He is very anxious that the book be well vetted, as are we," Viner said.

New Millennium was involved in disputes in 2002 with physicist Stephen Hawking and novelist David Baldacci.

Hawking tried unsuccessfully to stop New Millennium's publication of "The Theory of Everything," which the physicist said would "constitute a fraud on the public" because it simply repackages old material.

Baldacci, author of such bestsellers as "Absolute Power" and "Last Man Standing," complained that his name was featured too prominently on the cover of a New Millennium anthology of mystery stories. He went to court; New Millennium ultimately agreed to alter the cover and the book was released. Baldacci's name appeared in smaller letters below the title.

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