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Jayson Blair sells tell-all book

From Rose Arce
CNN

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, who was dismissed earlier this year for plagiarism and fabrication, has sold his story to a Los Angeles-based publishing house.

The New Millennium Press will release Blair's book on March 9 with the title "Burning Down My Master's House: My Life at the New York Times."

A source involved with the deal said the book will cover Blair's entire life, culminating in his editors' discovery that many of his articles used stolen material or were partial works of fiction. The book will also focus on Blair's post-scandal experiences, as well as delving briefly into family history.

His demise at the newspaper led to a lengthy internal investigation of standards and the downfall of the Times' two top editors.

The Blair scandal raised questions of how the Times editors had overlooked clear signs that Blair was faltering and whether race played a role in excusing his mistakes. The book will talk about the role race did and did not play in his time there, said Blair, who is black.

Blair also told CNN he was recently diagnosed with manic-depressive mental illness -- also called bipolar disorder -- and the book will focus heavily on how that condition, when coupled with a high-pressure newsroom and heavy substance abuse, led to what he now considers a shameful period of his life.

"So many people get themselves into trouble and they take their shame and they run and hide," he said. "And when they hide we're robbed of the opportunity to learn from this. I feel a lot of shame. But I think it would be a disservice to not give people the opportunity to learn from this."

The source said Blair's advance was well into six figures. More than 200,000 books will be printed for the initial run.


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