Gretchen Giles is one of 12 U.S. journalists to win a place in the first International Arts Journalism Institute in the Visual Arts. The program, which provides mid-career art critics and writers the opportunity to participate in a two-week intensive training, is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. State Department.
Last year, John Sakowicz began writing "smartly prescient" pieces on the impending financial collapse for the North Bay Bohemian, editor Gretchen Giles writes, so she kept publishing him and even dubbed him contributing editor on the paper's masthead. However, as Sakowicz's work at the Bohemian landed him a local radio show and "expert" status at the Institute for Public Accuracy, some people started digging into his background. Ultimately, Giles found that she couldn't confirm some details of Sakowicz's biography, and the paper has cut ties with him. "It appears that Sakowicz, while talented at understanding and predicting the economic moonscape, does not have the exact background he claims to have, one that we underscored by repeatedly printing it at the end of his articles," Giles writes in a mea culpa. "A credible publication cannot publish the works of writers whose credentials cannot withstand scrutiny."