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  • Any Southern Illinois Graduates?

    Couldn't find this posted before. These people are really sick:

    Daily Egyptian Hoax

    DE duped in hoax

    EMail This Page - Print

    Daily Egyptian staff

    [email protected]



    Over nearly two years, the Daily Egyptian told the story of a precocious little girl whose mother was dead and whose father was fighting in Iraq.

    Members of the newspaper staff befriended the girl known as Kodee Kennings and she was given an occasional column in the DE. The column, at times funny and at times heart-rending, talked about her father in the military, her fears about monsters under her bed and her life with her guardian, Colleen Hastings.

    None of it was true.

    The Daily Egyptian and its readers were taken in by a bizarre, elaborate hoax.

    There was no Kodee Kennings. There was no Colleen Hastings. And there was no father named Dan Kennings in Iraq.

    The web of lies began to unravel about two weeks ago when the staff of the newspaper was told that Dan Kennings had been killed in battle. Sources at the Department of the Defense and at Fort Campbell, Ky., where Kennings was supposedly a member of the 101st Airborne, said no man by that name has served or died in Iraq.

    Reporting by this newspaper and others since then has found that Hastings is actually Jaimie Reynolds of Marion, a 2004 graduate of SIU. And Kodee is actually the daughter of a pastor in Montpelier, Ind. The man portraying Dan Kennings is Patrick Trovillion of Vienna, who says Reynolds paid him for his role.

    On Thursday, after nearly a week of reporting, the Daily Egyptian learned that the girl is 10-year-old Caitlin Hadley. Her parents are Rich and Tawnya Hadley, who met Reynolds in Tuscola. The Hadleys said they believed Reynolds was making a documentary with their daughter about a girl named Kodee Kennings and that they had become close friends with Reynolds. Rich Hadley, who is pastor of Montpelier Church of the Nazarene, said Reynolds had even stayed at their house.

    He said he is considering seeking a restraining order to keep Reynolds away from the family.

    Hadley said his daughter is having trouble coping with the situation.

    "She's very sad. She will just burst into tears out of the blue. At one point she turned to me and asked, 'Did Jamie like me?'" he said.

    Reynolds, who invited members of the newspaper's staff to a memorial service for Dan Kennings Saturday at the American Legion hall in Orient, insists she did not act alone. She said that the Daily Egyptian reporter who first wrote about Kodee, Michael Brenner, met her in a bar in early January 2003 and later asked her to help him with the deception.

    Reynolds said because Brenner paid attention to her she was willing to help, saying he "said all the things I wanted to hear. It wasn't a crush. But he looked at me, and looked twice. He became a friend and didn't care I was fat."

    In a five-hour interview at her home, Reynolds accused Brenner of creating the characters and writing the "Kenningsology" columns. She said he threatened her to go along with the lie.

    Reynolds said Brenner, who went on to serve one semester as editor-in-chief at the Daily Egyptian, wanted to get his byline in a section of the paper other than sports.

    Brenner, the recipient of state and national student journalism awards, denied her accusations and said he did not make up anything.

    Brenner, who graduated in December 2004, developed a personal relationship with the girl he said he believed to be Kodee Kennings.

    "Many of the people I have been talking to the last couple of years have completely betrayed me," Brenner said. "I guess there was no relationship there in the first place, since they didn't love me. I can't believe Kodee isn't even real." Walter Jaehnig, the director of the school of journalism at SIUC, said in a statement "the staff is shocked by these revelations because we stress fair, accurate and complete journalism in our courses and in the Daily Egyptian. In this instance, the student reporters and editors failed to verify the essential facts of the story."

    Brenner's first story about Kodee Kennings appeared on May 6, 2003. The story relived heart-wrenching details of the 8-year-old's good-bye to her father as he left for Iraq with the 101st Airborne. In the story, the DE detailed how, with Kodee's mother dead, Dan Kennings was her only remaining blood relative.

    However, the DE did not verify the facts of the story.

    After that story appeared, calls from a young voice saying she was Kodee Kennings were often placed to the Daily Egyptian and staff members would talk to this person, often for hours. E-mails from family members of Dan and Kodee Kennings were sent to numerous members of the Daily Egyptian staff and the girl was also allowed to sit in on classes by journalism instructors.

    In summer 2004, Trovillion, posing as Dan Kennings, visited the Daily Egyptian newsroom, thanking the staff for taking care of his daughter while he was in Iraq. He walked through room, shook hands and hugged staff members. Trovillion said Reynolds paid him "about $100" to appear in the Daily Egyptian that day. Reynolds insisted he was not paid. Both said the two met through her cousin.

    "I am absolutely floored by this," Trovillion said. "It really does piss me off."

    The last of Kodee's columns appeared in the newspaper in July 2004.

  • #2
    I am an SIU grad that stuck around and now I work for SIU. The Daily Egyptian used to be a very good student newspaper, one of the best in the country. This whole sage just proves that the paper has been going downhill for the last couple years.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by C_Rock@Sep 6 2005, 09:29 AM
      I am an SIU grad that stuck around and now I work for SIU. The Daily Egyptian used to be a very good student newspaper, one of the best in the country. This whole sage just proves that the paper has been going downhill for the last couple years.
      Did you mean 'saga'?

      One day you feel quite stable
      The next you're comin' off the wall
      But I think you should warn me
      If you start heading for a fall
      I see the problem start
      I watch the tension grow
      I see you keeping it to yourself
      And then instead of reaching conclusions
      I see you reaching for something else

      No one can stop you now
      Tonight you're on the loose
      No one to tell you how
      Tonight you're on the loose

      I see no harm or danger in escaping
      If the method suits the style
      We put the mind on idle
      And let the others take it for awhile
      When the pace is too fast
      And I think I won't last
      You know where I'll be found
      I'll be standing here beside myself
      Getting ready for the final round
      Moon

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      • #4
        Grew up in C'dale and read the DE a lot through my youth. I remember the DE being regarded as one of the best student papers as well, and IIRC, SIU is considered a strong Journalism school.

        However, while this is a black eye for the paper, I think we do have to remember it is still a STUDENT paper. That being the case, I think they deserve some slack. It's not like it's the NY Times or something.
        Of course you do.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Moon Man+Sep 6 2005, 09:33 AM-->
          QUOTE(Moon Man @ Sep 6 2005, 09:33 AM)

        • #6
          saga



          My bad moon.
          Official Lounge Sponsor of the Fab Four

          2009 MVC Freshmen of the Year & their Capt.

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          • #7
            Originally posted by C_Rock@Sep 6 2005, 12:51 PM
            saga



            My bad moon.
            He's an 8th grade english teacher.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by Miami Card Fan@Sep 6 2005, 09:30 AM
              In summer 2004, Trovillion, posing as Dan Kennings, visited the Daily Egyptian newsroom, thanking the staff for taking care of his daughter while he was in Iraq. He walked through room, shook hands and hugged staff members. Trovillion said Reynolds paid him "about $100" to appear in the Daily Egyptian that day. Reynolds insisted he was not paid. Both said the two met through her cousin.

              "I am absolutely floored by this," Trovillion said. "It really does piss me off."
              So a woman offers to pay him money to pose as a soldier returning from Iraq and go along with this whole big story and he didn't catch on that something was fishy with the whole thing? Riiiight.......
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              • #9
                Originally posted by C_Rock@Sep 6 2005, 11:51 AM
                saga



                My bad moon.
                I see the bad moon arising.
                I see trouble on the way.
                I see earthquakes and lightnin’.
                I see bad times today.

                Don’t go around tonight,
                Well, it’s bound to take your life,
                There’s a bad moon on the rise.

                I hear hurricanes ablowing.
                I know the end is coming soon.
                I fear rivers over flowing.
                I hear the voice of rage and ruin.

                Don’t go around tonight,
                Well, it’s bound to take your life,
                There’s a bad moon on the rise.

                All right!

                Hope you got your things together.
                Hope you are quite prepared to die.
                Looks like we’re in for nasty weather.
                One eye is taken for an eye.

                Don’t go around tonight,
                Well, it’s bound to take your life,
                There’s a bad moon on the rise.

                Don’t go around tonight,
                Well, it’s bound to take your life,
                There’s a bad moon on the rise.
                Moon

                Comment


                • #10
                  Originally posted by ShortHop@Sep 6 2005, 09:39 AM
                  However, while this is a black eye for the paper, I think we do have to remember it is still a STUDENT paper. That being the case, I think they deserve some slack. It's not like it's the NY Times or something.
                  Oh come on, all they had to do was call the freaking military and confirm the story's most basic fact to get it right. They were lazy, enthralled by the cheap emotionalism (sound familiar Mr. President), and plain incompetent. They teach this the first day of journalism class.

                  The sad truth, though, is that this situation is indicative of how many journalists and students approach their work/classrooms -- half-assed. That's fine when all it leads to is someone embarassing an entire region, but what happens when these are the people charged to make bridges and airplanes.

                  Viva America!
                  On my mind: How can I shut up the singing English graduate student? How many more lossess will KU's basketball team have than its football team? How will the Rams front office screw up this year?


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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by chiguy+Sep 7 2005, 04:33 AM-->
                    QUOTE(chiguy @ Sep 7 2005, 04:33 AM)
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