In 2003, the staff at the San Antonio Express-News discovered a reporter from The New York Times had plagiarized one of their stories. It was just the tip of the iceberg: It was later found that Jayson Blair, a promising young reporter, had lied and plagiarized his way through dozens of stories he wrote for the prestigious newspaper.
During an interview on "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" Blair reflected on the anguishing moment he was caught.
"When I first was called on it, my initial reaction was to try and defend myself," Blair says in the above video. "At the same time, I wanted ... the sense of relief, and I wanted it to be over. And then, I just hit a point where, for the first time in my life, I'm thinking about ways to kill myself."
Blair says he went to a bar around the corner from the Times. "There was one bartender who I was really close with, and that's actually the first person I told what was going on. I said I was feeling -- I don't even know if I described it as suicidal -- but I felt like I wanted to kill myself last night," he says.
The bartender told him, "You need to resign right now and we need to get you help," Blair says. He took her advice and submitted his resignation on May 1, 2003.
The day he resigned, concerned staff members tracked Blair down to make sure he was all right. "I left the building for the last time, and I don't even know where I went afterwards," he says. "But I do know that the newsroom sent every person who knew me out on the streets like they were reporting a story to try and figure out where I was. And they found me, and they made sure that the counselors got in touch with me."
Blair says his colleagues went the extra mile to get him help. "A friend of mine at the paper who struggled with drug addiction came out and said, 'Don't pick up.' My mentor came and found me, they contacted my parents -- they did everything," he says.
The day following his resignation, Blair was hospitalized and eventually diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Today, Blair is the founder of a practice specializing in life, career and mental health coaching.