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Monday, 29 May, 2000, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Journalist 'invented' celebrity interviews
Courtney Love
Love sick: Courtney was unhappy with Kummer interview
A German magazine has apologised to its readers after suggestions that one of its reporters made up a series of celebrity interviews.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung is considering legal action against Los Angeles-based freelancer Tom Kummer as a result of the allegations.

In a printed apology, the paper said: "Our journalistic credibility has suffered great damage."

The matter came to light after Focus magazine probed a so-called interview with Courtney Love that the singer took objection to.


Kim Basinger
Kummer claimed to have interviewed Hollywood star Kim Basinger

An unrepentant Kummer maintained he had done nothing wrong, describing his work as "montage reporting" - pooling information from other sources - which has also been christened "borderline journalism".

SZ-Magazine Editor-in-Chief Christian Kaemmerling wrote: "We had to learn from our colleagues at Focus that we may have been the victims of a betrayal of unimagined proportions.

"If the suspicion is confirmed that Tom Kummer fabricated numerous interviews, then he didn't just betray us, but also you."

"Exclusives"

One journalist told The Guardian Newspaper: "We had our editors ringing up and saying 'why can't you go fishing with Bruce Willis, riding with Robert Redford and playing golf with Kevin Costner?'

"He was coming up with all these great exclusives - being invited to Kim Basinger's cottage and things like that."

The Sueddeutsche said it stopped using Kummer last year, when he was unable to produce audio tapes of an interview with actress Christina Ricci.

The newspaper's magazine had already run stories on Love, Basinger and Brad Pitt, but had no reason to suspect they were not genuine.

Focus journalist Holger Hotzel said many of Kummer's interviews were made up, describing them as "conversations with himself".

But Kummer, who started working for the paper in 1996, insisted: "Readers of my generation want to be entertained."

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