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Times reporter wants to write about his mistakes

Blair: 'People will be surprised' by his side of story

From Rose Arce and Liz Kelley
CNN New York Bureau

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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Former New York Times reporter Jayson Blair told CNN on Monday that "race, substance abuse and psychological disorders" played a much more "nuanced role" in destroying his career than is being portrayed in the media.

"I am sorry for what I've done," he told CNN by phone. "It's my hope that others will learn from my mistakes."

The 27-year-old journalist, who is black, resigned May 1 after a Texas newspaper questioned whether he had plagiarized its story about the family of a soldier missing in Iraq.

Blair said he hopes to "write and share my story so that it can help others to heal." He has signed with literary agent David Vigliano to consider book and movie offers.

Questions have been raised in the media about whether Blair had been able to keep working at the Times, despite a record of mistakes, because of his race or connections with top editors. The newspaper, whose managing editor, Gerald Boyd, is black, is trying to diversify its staff. Also, Blair is friendly with a staffer from Poland, home country of editor Howell Raines' wife, raising the specter that he received special treatment.

Blair said: "There are many assumptions being made, that because I'm black, Gerald Boyd was my mentor, and because my closest friend, Zuza Glowacka, is Polish, I was trying to gain favor with Howell Raines. People will be surprised when the whole story comes out."

A Times investigation of Blair's reporting discovered problems in about half of the 73 articles he had written since October.

Among his fictions were stories about the father of Jessica Lynch, the former prisoner of war in Iraq, and the Washington-area sniper attacks, the paper said.

The newspaper's management has faced criticism for allowing him to write, and even promoting him, despite the numerous corrections his articles required and the questions that some editors had raised about his work. (Full story)

The Associated Press reported last week that federal prosecutors were seeking information about Blair's plagiarized or fabricated stories, leading to speculation that he could face charges.

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