An article by freelancer Rob Sgobbo has been removed from the Village Voice website after the paper learned that Sgobbo “invented a character” in the story.
The article about for-profit colleges, which also appeared in the Voice‘s education supplement, prominently features “Tamicka Bourges,” who in the story describes how a stint at Berkeley College put her into $25,000 worth of debt.
In place of the story, a note from editor Tony Ortega now appears:
We first learned that there might be a problem when Berkeley College denied that one of its spokespersons, Kelly Meisberger, had spoken to Sgobbo. Berkeley later added that it had no record of Bourges as a student. At about the same time, the GAO called to inform us that there was no spokesperson there named “Matt Fraser,” whom the story quoted.
Romenesko has confirmed that Sgobbo, who has also written for the New York Daily News, is a recent graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism.