2006/04/30

LA Times Discontinues Reporter's Column

Sun Apr 30, 11:00 AM ET

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Times said Sunday it is discontinuing the column and Internet blog of a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter because he posted items online using assumed names.

The decision, reported in an editor's note on the Times' Web site, came a week after the paper suspended Michael Hiltzik's Golden State blog.

It said Hiltzik would be reassigned after serving a suspension.
"Hiltzik did not commit any ethical violations in his newspaper column, and an internal inquiry found no inaccurate reporting in his postings in his blog or on the Web," the editor's note said. "But employing pseudonyms constitutes deception and violates a central tenet of The Times' ethics guidelines: Staff members must not misrepresent themselves and must not conceal their affiliation with The Times."


Hiltzik did not immediately return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment Sunday morning.

The Times said Hiltzik "has acknowledged using pseudonyms to post a single comment on his blog on latimes.com and multiple comments elsewhere on the Web that dealt with his column and other issues involving the newspaper."

Hiltzik has been in a blog feud with Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey, who writes the conservative blog Patterico's Pontifications. That column recently contended that Hiltzik had been posting messages to his blog and other Web sites under assumed names such as Mikekoshi and Nofanofcablecos.

Frey said he did not object to anonymity on the Web but rather to the use of "pseudonyms to pretend to be something or somebody they aren't."

Hiltzik and Times reporter Chuck Philips won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles exposing entertainment industry corruption.
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