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New Yorker Returns National Magazine Award Over Dubious Story

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( Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for The New Yorker)

By    |   Monday, 25 January 2021 06:40 PM

The New Yorker decided to return a National Magazine Award for a story about Japan’s “rent-a-family” industry on Monday, three days before the board that selects the winners was to consider rescinding it, several publications reported.

The relinquishing of the award from 2019, bestowed for a story that appeared a year earlier, is the first time the honor has been returned or rescinded since they were first created in 1966 by the New York-based American Society of Magazine Editors, The Wall Street Journal said quoting an email from ASME Executive Director Sid Holt.

The controversy surrounded a story written by Elif Batuman, which described the “rent-a-family” industry in Japan, reportedly started in the early 1990s, where individuals essentially hire actors to portray family members for social events or behave as companions.

The article written by Batuman revolved around two people who used a service called Family Romance, one portrayed as a widower estranged from his daughter who hired women to act as his wife and daughter, and another described as a single mother with a daughter who contracted a supposed husband/father.

However, the New Yorker added an editor’s note last month to the online version of the story which indicated both people were married, including the supposed single mother who was wedded to the owner of Family Romance.

The New York Post reported two weeks ago that the ASME board was to meet on Thursday to consider rescinding the award, although some members didn’t think Batuman was to blame for the erroneous story and didn’t warrant reclaiming the award.

The episode invigorated tales of widely recognized reported stories – some of which have won awards – that have been later proven to be completely or largely untrue, most notably Janet Cooke’s Pulitzer Prize-winning story for The Washington Post in 1981. The story about an 8-year-old heroin addict in Washington was later disclosed to be completely false.

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The New Yorker decided to return a National Magazine Award for a story about Japan's "rent-a-family" industry on Monday, three days before the board that selects the winners was to consider rescinding it, several publications reported....
newyorker, magazine, award, japan, rent, a, family
317
2021-40-25
Monday, 25 January 2021 06:40 PM
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