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Der Spiegel's star reporter 'faked stories' for years

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Der Spiegel headquarters

The world-renowned German news magazine "Der Spiegel" fired award-winning reporter and editor Claas Relotius admitted to falsifying his articles on a grand scale.

[Claas Relotius] resigned after admitting to the scam.

When one of Germany's most trusted publications, Der Spiegel, pushed out a news alert Wednesday, the subject was its own failing: The magazine revealed that one of its star reporters, Claas Relotius, likely embellished his coverage and allegedly fabricated entire events for years before resigning on Monday.

"This has been uncovered as a result of tips, internal research and, ultimately, a comprehensive confession by the editor himself", Der Spiegel said in a statement on its website.

Der Spiegel's motto is "Say it like it is". "I am sick and I need to get help", he was quoted as saying.

Moreno found that two sources ostensibly quoted in the story never spoke to Relotius.

"He didn't relent, and he took advantage of a trip to the US for reporting on another story to gather incriminating information about Relotius - and also in order to take steps to protect himself, given that his byline had also appeared on the article", Der Spiegel said. A 2017 piece about a rural Minnesota town's love of President Trump opened with a striking anecdote about a sign at the city's entrance that read "Mexicans keep out". Other tainted articles that won or were nominated for awards involved Iraqi children kidnapped by ISIS and Syrian orphans forced into a Turkish sweatshop.

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In a lengthy article, Spiegel said it was "shocked" by the discovery and apologised to its readers as well as to anyone who may have been the subject of "fraudulent quotes, made up personal details or invented scenes at fictitious places". The publication said the issue "marks a low point in the 70-year history of Der Spiegel".

An in-house commission has been set up to pore over all of Relotius' work for the weekly.

It's unclear whether Relotius fabricated stories for other major German outlets that published his work, including Cicero and the Financial Times Deutschland.

Relotius, who has admitted to faking some of his reporting, had written dozens of articles for Der Spiegel since 2011. Relotius also worked for other media organizations in Germany and overseas.

Relotius told his editors: "It was not about having the next big thing".

"My pressure to not be able to fail got ever bigger the more successful I became".

"All [his] colleagues are deeply shattered", the magazine wrote. "In particular, it said, in the department, "Society" in which he worked "(his) colleagues are astounded and sad...the affair feels like a death in the family".

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