Questionable quote quotas inquiry: Is the Pitch faking it?

Liam Dorrien

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Freshman Francis Emerson, pictured above in the center, has started a support group club for those affected by the libel of The Pitch. In this meeting, they are discussing the idea of taking on separate identities to distance themselves from reputation their misattributed quotes have given them.

We all know The Pitch, the darling newspaper of WJ, made for the student body, by the student body. The Pitch has been a trusted source of information since its creation in 19 something, but a recent revelation may destroy the credibility of the once beloved paper. The startling discovery was made by a recently enrolled freshman, who had picked up a copy of the January edition of the Pitch and found an interesting surprise.

“I was reading the article about how the school cafeteria was about to change their menu, and I suddenly realized my name was after something I never said. I’ve never even been approached by the Pitch; and this quote had it seeming like I was blaming the lunch staff for the change,” Francis Everdeen said.

After finding out how he had been mistreated, he reached out on social media to find out if any shared his story. Surprisingly, after posting a story on his Instagram, he had more than 10 people messaging him with a similar account.

“Francis has been really great with organizing everything, we meet every Thursday in the music room where we have talk circles, organize protests and boycotts, there’s a lot going on,” senior Tracy Liman said.

The students have stories of quotes being faked for everything from post game analysis to test taking paralysis, with the victimology of students seeming almost random.

“To me it seems impossible that it was just one writer, or even one group, that was supplying all of these fake quotes. The problem seemed so widespread that I decided to keep investigating,” Everdeen said.

What he found was an astonishing level of conspiracy that seemed to lead all the way to the editorial board, and continued back years. Everdeen combed the Pitch archive, and compiled a list of over 50 individuals quoted over the years to conduct a survey. Out of the 50 interviewed, 26 said they had never interacted with the Pitch reporter in question, seven admitted that they had allowed their friend to make up a quote for the sake of deadline, and 17 said they remembered being interviewed by the person credited for writing the article or an associate.

When Pitch sponsor Wendy Borrelli was reached out to for a comment, the offer was rejected alongside a strongly worded statement reading: ‘Our newspaper has always upheld our stated values, and I have complete faith in the integrity and honesty of our student journalists. Anyone insinuating some sort of conspiracy is obviously just retaliating for fair and honest reporting that may have painted them in an unfortunate light.’

However, we were able to get in contact with an anonymous staff writer at the Pitch, who had begun to feel guilty over their use of a fake source. The whistle blower went on to describe a toxic work environment, where the deadline was king and hazing was commonplace.

“It wouldn’t be that surprising for me to walk into class and see a freshman’s face being stuck between a photo copier for sending in a story late; that’s just how they run things,” said the source.

But how has this widespread disregard for journalistic integrity been able to go on for so long unnoticed? The answer may lie in a more sinister place.

“Administration would often come in with a piece already written they would want the Pitch to publish, and Borrelli would just push it through. In return, they would give anyone who spoke out in school suspension. It was really a mutual agreement,” said the source.

What began as a simple question turned into a full blown conspiracy exposing the dark underbelly of the school newspaper industry.