Reading Between the Lies

A young reporter who stole and made up stories forces the New York Times to take stock

Given the chance, Macarena Hernandez might have done great things at the New York Times. With a gift for detail and musical prose, she was offered a job after working as a summer intern in 1998 and planned to take it--right up until the day that August when her father, a construction worker, was killed by an 18-wheeler. Her mother needed her, and so Hernandez went home to Texas. With no journalism jobs in sight, she began teaching English to mostly poor Mexican-American kids at her old high school. She urged them to follow their dreams.

One of her fellow...

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