Disgraced Journalist Julie Amparano, Former Arizona Republic Columnist, has Play in Production

amparano julie wavemag.jpg
Image: www.wavemag.com

Julie Amparano knows something about creative writing.

The former Arizona Republic writer was fired in 1999 after her bosses accused her of inventing people to quote in her columns. Now her byline's back -- this time on a play featured Sunday at the Arizona Women's Theater's Pandora Festival this Sunday. Here's the synopsis:

Mary fights to hold her family together in the face of her looming death, but her visiting children dredge up tragic, funny and sometimes crazy memories of their upbringing.

Since her star fell at the Republic, Amparano's co-authored a children's book, taught English at Arizona State University West and worked on a Latino-themed Web site (no longer up and running) with her husband. Thanks to the Internet, her bad reputation in the newspaper biz is likely to always precede her.

Naturally, the Arizona Republic didn't breathe a word about its former employee in a recent article about the festival. Amparano is the reason the Arizona Republic's name is mentioned among the many lists and articles on the Internet about the country's most disgraced journalists.

No smoking-gun evidence ever nailed Amparano like it did Jayson Blair and other infamous practitioners of journalistic make-believe. The Republic hired a private eye in an ostensible attempt to prove Amparano's sources were real people, as she claimed, but the suspected fictional characters of her column couldn't be tracked down.

Most memorable was the way Amparano used "Jennifer Morgan" in several of her pieces, describing "Morgan" differently each time.

Maybe someday Amparano will turn her embarrassment into Hollywood gold, like the New Republic's Stephen Glass. Here's our idea for her next script:

Julie fights to hold her journalism career together in the face of its looming death when her imaginary sources show up to relate the tragic, funny, and sometimes crazy memories of their upbringing.

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Why did you write this and why did your editors choose to print it?  Seriously, she committed her offenses 13 years ago and she is NOT working as a reporter or seeking a job as one .  Nobody expects a play to follow the rules of journalistic ethics (other than lack of plagiarism).  So, your story serves no purpose other than to embarass her and interfere with her present endeavors.  Printing it calls YOUR ethics into question.   One of your ethical duties, per the Society of Professional Journalists, is to "minimize harm."  This particular quote from that subdivision of the SPJ Code of Ethics is something you should really consider : " — Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance."  I read the New Times regularly, and believe it is the only local news source that is willing to take on powerful politicians regardless of the consequences.  Doing that is courageous and admirable.  Stories like this one are just cowardly, spiteful, and yes, arrogant.  She's not a powerful politician, she's just someone who made mistakes long ago and is trying get on with her life.  I hope you think about that before you arrogantly screw someone else by printing another story like this one.


Hey!  Julie is currently my creative writing teacher, haha.  Wow.  I googled her name on a whim and have discovered a litany of articles regarding her disgraceful firing.  Strange. 

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