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Md. paper to review Blair's work

May 15, 2003

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Alumni of the University of Maryland's student newspaper plan a probe of stories written by former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair when he worked on the paper in the mid-1990s.

Blair, who resigned earlier this month from the Times after being accused of plagiarizing and fabricating stories, was a reporter and editor for The Diamondback. He was editor-in-chief for the 1996-1997 school year.

Several former editors of The Diamondback plan to distribute about 90 stories Blair wrote from the paper among about 30 alumni for fact-checking, according to Alex Knott, who worked as managing editor under Blair. Knott said the group wants to preserve the integrity of the paper, which is independent of the university.

"It's important that we try to set the record straight," Knott said. "It's important for us to distinguish the fact from fiction and clear our name."

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The Times ran an extensive report Sunday detailing stories Blair wrote using plagiarized material, made-up quotes or information he falsely claimed to have gathered at locations he did not visit.

The Boston Globe, where Blair was an intern, is also reviewing his work. So is the University of Maryland's student-staffed wire service.

Blair attended Maryland but did not graduate.

Knott said Blair was "smart and very ambitious" when he worked for The Diamondback, but he had a problem with errors in his stories and frequently failed to show up for work.

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