Janet Cooke Biography
Janet Leslie Cooke (born July 23, 1954) is a former American journalist. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 for an article written for The Washington Post. The story was later discovered to have been fabricated. Cooke subsequently returned the Pulitzer, the only person to date to do so, after admitting she had fabricated stories. The Pulitzer was subsequently awarded to Teresa Carpenter, a nominee who had lost to Cooke.
Janet Cooke Age
Janet Leslie Cooke is a former American journalist. She won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 for an article written for The Washington Post. The story was later discovered to have been fabricated.
Cooke subsequently returned the Pulitzer, the only person to date to do so, after admitting she had fabricated stories. She was born on July 23, 1954, in Toledo, OH. Janet Leslie Cooke is 64 years old as of 2018
Janet Cooke Early life and Career
Janet Leslie Cooke was born on 23rd July 1954 in Toledo, Ohio, U.S. She attended the University of Toledo earning a B.A degree.
In the year 1980, Janet Cooke joined the ”Weeklies” section staff of the Washington Post under editor Vivian Aplin-Brownlee. She falsely stated that she had a degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree from the University of Toledo.
On 28 September 1980, the article in the Post, titled ”Jimmy’s World,” she wrote a profile of an eight-year-old heroin addict, won Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. She also described the ”needle marks freckling the baby-smooth skin of his thin, brown arms.”
The story also engendered much sympathy among the readers, including Marion Barry, then mayor of Washington, D.C. He along with other city officials organized an all-out police search for the boy, which was unsuccessful and led to claims that the story was fraudulent.
Later, Cooke resigned and returned the Prize. Regarding this, Gabriel Garcia Marquez said that ”it was unfair that she won Pulitzer Prize, but also unfair that she didn’t win the Nobel Prize in Literature.”
In the year 1996, Cooke gave an interview about the ‘Jimmy’s World’ episode to GQ reporter Mike Sager, her former boyfriend.
Janet Cooke Fabricated story scandal
In 1980, Cooke joined the “Weeklies” section staff of the Washington Post under editor Vivian Aplin-Brownlee. Cooke falsely claimed she had a degree from Vassar College and a master’s degree from the University of Toledo, and that she had received a journalism award while at the Toledo Blade. While Cooke had attended Vassar for a year, she had received only a bachelor’s degree from Toledo.
In a September 28, 1980, article in the Post, titled “Jimmy’s World”, Cooke wrote a profile of the life of an eight-year-old heroin addict. She described the “needle marks freckling the baby-smooth skin of his thin, brown arms.
” The story engendered much empathy among readers, including Marion Barry, then mayor of Washington, D.C. He and other city officials organized an all-out police search for the boy, which was unsuccessful and led to claims that the story was fraudulent.
Barry, responding to public pressure, lied and claimed that Jimmy was known to the city and receiving treatment; Jimmy was announced dead shortly thereafter.
Although some within the Post doubted the story’s veracity, the paper defended it and assistant managing editor Bob Woodward submitted the story for the Pulitzer Prize. Cooke was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing on April 13, 1981.
When the editors of the Toledo Blade, where Cooke had previously worked, read her biographical notes, they noticed discrepancies. Further investigation revealed that Cooke’s academic credentials were inflated. Pressured by the editors of the Post, Cooke confessed her wrongdoing.
Two days after the prize had been awarded, Post publisher Donald E. Graham held a press conference and admitted that the story was fraudulent. The editorial in the next day’s paper offered a public apology. Assistant managing editor Woodward said at the time:
I believed it, we published it. Official questions had been raised, but we stood by the story and her. Internal questions had been raised, but none about her other work.
The reports were about the story not sounding right, being based on anonymous sources, and primarily about purported lies (about) her personal life—9(told by three reporters), two she had dated and one who felt in close competition with her.
I think that the decision to nominate the story for a Pulitzer is of minimal consequence. I also think that it won is of little consequence. It is a brilliant story—fake and fraud that it is. It would be absurd for me or any other editor to review the authenticity or accuracy of stories that are nominated for prizes.
Cooke resigned and returned the prize. Regarding this, Gabriel García Márquez said that “it was unfair that she won the Pulitzer Prize, but also unfair that she didn’t win the Nobel Prize in Literature.” (The 1981 Pulitzer was re-awarded to Teresa Carpenter of The Village Voice.) Cooke appeared on the Phil Donahue show in January 1982 and said that the high-pressure environment of the Post had corrupted her judgment.
She said that her sources had hinted to her about the existence of a boy such as Jimmy, but, unable to find him, she eventually created a story about him in order to satisfy her editors.
In 1996, Cooke gave an interview about the “Jimmy’s World” episode to GQ reporter Mike Sager, her former boyfriend and Washington Post colleague. Cooke and Sager sold the film rights to the story to Tri-Star Pictures for $1.6 million, but the project never moved past the script stage.
As of 2016, wrote Sager in the Columbia Journalism Review, “she is living within the borders of the continental United States, within a family setting, and pursuing a career that does not primarily involve writing.”
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Janet Cooke Husband
Former American journalist Janet Cooke is infamously known to have faked an article, ‘Jimmy’s World’ for The Washington Post. The article had credited her with a Pulitzer Prize in the year 1981. But when the information of the article was found to be fabricated, Janet had to return the Pulitzer Prize.
Besides the controversy, she was married once and experienced the failure in her relationship.
Personal Life Dwells In Failures
Janet Cooke was previously married to an Attorney. She had moved to Paris with her husband in 1985. However, their relationship stumbled upon bumps, and the duo got divorced to part ways.
Janet has not yet revealed the details of her husband and her children from her marriage.
After the divorce, Janet moved on via a new relationship with her childhood friend Mike Sager, a former Post Reporter. The duo started dating. But just like her marriage, Janet’s new affair also didn’t last long, and the pair separated.
Since then, no information on Janet’s relationship status has yet surfaced out.
Janet Cooke Pulitzer Price Scandal
Janet Cooke joined the Weeklies section staff of the Washington Post in the year 1980. In September 1980, she wrote an article titled ‘Jimmy’s World ’ for the magazine.
The article depicted a profile of the life of an eight-year-old heroin addict since the age of five when his mother’s live-in boyfriend first allowed Jimmy to sniff some heroin. According to Janet, the boyfriend was a heroin dealer, and that Jimmy’s mother and grandmother also were heroin addicts.
The story even stated that Jimmy went to school only to learn math so he could be a better drug dealer when he grew older.
Before the publications of the story, Janet told her editors that Jimmy’s mother’s boyfriend had threatened the life of their family if any authorities or police discovered Jimmy’s whereabouts.
The story became so famous that Janet was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing on 13 April 1981.
Upon publication, Jimmy’s article engendered much sympathy among readers, including Marion Barry, then mayor of Washington, D.C. They organized an all-out police search for the boy, but they failed to get any information. Janet was caught and exposed, and people found out that the story was just fabricated.
So, Janet had to resign and also return back the Prize.
In the year 1996, Cooke gave an interview about the “Jimmy’s World” to her former boyfriend, Mike Sager. They sold the film rights to the story to Tri-Star Pictures for $1.6 million. However, the project never moved past the script stage.
While decades have passed, but the fabricated story, Jimmy’s World still stands as a testament to the pressures facing journalists in the world of news today.
As of now, Janet is living in Kalamazoo, Michigan while working as a sales clerk in a clothing store.
Janet Cooke Net Worth
Janet Cooke’s estimated Net Worth, Salary, Income, Cars, Lifestyles & much more details have been updated below. Let’s check, How Rich is Janet Cooke in 2018?
Janet Cooke has made quite a good amount of money from her career as a journalist, her net worth is estimated to be not less than seven figures.
According to Wikipedia, Forbes & Various Online resource, Janet Cooke’s estimated net worth Under Review. You may check previous years net worth, salary & much more from below.
|Estimated Net Worth in 2019||$100K-1M (Approx.)|
|Previous Year’s Net Worth (2018)||Under Review|
|Annual Salary||Under Review.|
|Income Source||Primary Income source Journalist.|
Noted, Janet’s primary income source is a Journalist, Currently, We don’t have enough information about Cars, Monthly/Yearly Salary, etc. We will update soon.
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