- Most widely reported personal and professional breakdowns
Jayson Blair was a reporter at The New York Times until an untreated and undiagnosised illness, known as manic depression, brought his career down. Jayson has made it through the fire and now runs two organizations. For several years, Jayson T. Blair was a promising young reporter at The New York Times . The collapse of his journalistic career, which became public in an unprecedented, 14,000 word front page story in The New York Times on Mothers Day, must go down as one of the most widely reported personal and professional breakdowns in the history of American media. For a while, it was almost impossible to read a newspaper or listen to a news broadcast without tripping over a mention of “the Jayson Blair scandal.” Within a year, Blair would be diagnosed with manic-depressive disorder (also known as bi-polar disorder), the key factor in his breakown, first-person account of the events that ended in his public self-destruction as a journalist. His father is a career civil servant whose assignments include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Smithsonian Institution. His mother is a retired schoolteacher. He developed a passion for journalism, in his senior year he got his first newspaper job as a writer.
Blair got an internship at The Washington Post, an intern at The Boston Globe , and internship at The New York Times. He also continued to earn journalism awards. One for In-Depth Reporting, Society of Professional Journalists, a Gertrude Poe Community Journalism Scholarship, a Scripps Howard Foundation Journalism Scholarship, the Paul Berg Dimondback Scholarship, and a Richard W. Worthington Scholarship. Society of Professional Journalists – once for In-Depth Reporting and twice for “Best Daily Newspaper.” None of his awards has been rescinded. Blair’s passion for journalism eventually overtook his commitment to higher education. When The Times offered a trial position as a reporter in, the acceptance of which would delay his college graduation indefinitely, Blair accepted. He never did finish his senior year. In four years at The Times Blair’s output of stories was prodigious. By his own count, he wrote more than twice the average number of stories that the average reporter of his rank at the paper would complete. He worked on the Metro Desk, in Sports, Metro-Business, and eventually on the National Desk, assigned to cover the DC Sniper story. His career at The Times did not suddenly go south. Despite his enthusiasm for the job and the long hours he voluntarily put in, problems developed early on. He was a heavy drinker, and eventually developed a dependence on alcohol and cocaine. He did not know it at the time, but his substance abuse was actually a form of self-medication for manic-depressive disorder, with which he was not diagnosed until after his professional breakdown. And despite his long hours, he was by no means a model employee.
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