Former editor at Hawaii student newspaper denies claims he used false sources

HAWAII — A former reporter for the student newspaper at theUniversity of Hawaii-Manoa in Honolulu, Hawaii, is denying claims that hefabricated nearly 30 sources in stories spanning nearly a year and a half.

The student editors at the university’s newspaper, Ka Leo, publisheda correction in the newspaper on June 24 identifying 29 allegedly fabricatedsources.

All stories in question were written by former Ka Leo news EditorKris DeRego.

In a television interview with KGMB Channel 9, a CBS affiliate which isbased out of Honolulu, DeRego said that the errors were the fault of the paperas a whole.

Ka Leo doesn’t have any dedicated fact checkers,” said DeRegoto the station. “Ka Leo doesn’t have a codified system in place forchecking to make sure the students say who they are.”

The newspaper stated in its correction that, “in conversations witheditors, the reporter said some of the errors resulted from poor handwriting,stress, and errors caused by the copy desk.”

In its correction, the newspaper stated that 21 of the names wereunverifiable via university records and eight more were similar to the names ofstudents but were not enrolled at the time that the stories were published fromJanuary 2008 to May 2009.

Mark Brislin, current Ka Leo editor-in-chief, said the correctionwas made in an effort for the newspaper to be accountable to its audience.

“We’re just trying to do the right thing and be open with our readers aboutthis,” said Brislin.

DeRego told the station that he is considering legal action against thenewspaper for damage against his reputation. DeRego did not respond to requestsfor an interview by press time.

The editors at Ka Leo are working to put in place a system that willpotentially stop a situation like DeRego’s from occurring. The new policy wouldrequire reporters to submit e-mail addresses and phone numbers of interviewedsources.

“That was us trying to ensure something like this doesn’t happenagain,” said Brislin.