June 27th, 2012 | University

Firing of Membis ’12 makes headlines

The Wall Street Journal’s firing of reporting intern Liane Membis ’12 for allegedly fabricating sources made waves on the Internet Tuesday.

Three weeks into her internship at the Journal, Membis was fired after Journal editors could not verify sources and quotes in several articles she wrote. An editor’s note published in place of a June 17 article by Membis that has been removed from the Journal’s website says “many of the names” in the article were fabricated, and the quotes “couldn’t be independently verified.”

Since the note appeared, the story of Membis’s termination has spread to the New York Times, the Washington Post and dozens of websites.

Membis told the News in a Tuesday phone interview that the errors were unintentional.

“For me, I know personally it was an honest reporting mistake that I made,” Membis said. “This is definitely something I’ve never done before.”

Membis is a former staff reporter for the News. A graduate of Ezra Stiles College, she has written for CNN and Ebony Magazine. A piece she wrote for the New Journal at Yale was picked up by the Huffington Post in August 2011.

Ashley Huston, a Journal spokeswoman, confirmed in a Tuesday email to the News that Membis is no longer working at the Journal. Huston said Membis wrote or contributed to five published pieces over the course of her internship.

In addition to removing Membis’s June 17 article, about the re-opening of the 103rd Street Pedestrian Bridge in Manhattan, the Journal removed quotes that could not be verified from two other articles.