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Newspaper Warns of Fake Reporter Targeting High School Athletes

Someone posing as a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter is trying to schedule off-campus photo shoots and interviews with area high school students, according to an email sent to Whitefish Bay High School on Friday.

Parents and students in the Whitefish Bay School District were warned Friday that someone posing as a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photographer is contacting high school students under the guise of setting up interviews and photo shoots off campus.

"It is alarming that someone would try to trick a child with a few minutes of fame. It is disturbing what this person has in mind," Kat Murray of Whitefish Bay wrote in an an email to Patch.

Whitefish Bay Athletic Director John Gustavson said Friday that Journal Sentinel prep sports editor Mark Stewart sent him the following email:

"There is an individual who is impersonating a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports reporter and he has been trying to set up interviews and photo shoots with high school athletes. The name he is using is Mike Clark or Mark Clark. This person DOES NOT work for us and his actions have been shady, to say the least. ... Your athletes should be leery of any reporter who contacts them directly, tries to set up interviews off school grounds or asks for contact information about teammates. If the reporter is legitimate, he or she will speak with the coach first and ask the coach to help arrange the interviews, which almost always take place on school grounds or at the site of a competition."

Gustvason forwarded the email to parents in the district. Stewart did not immediately respond Friday to an emailed request for comment.

"I commend the Journal for contacting our school district and for the school district alerting the parents," Murray said. "Education is the key to survival in life these days. I considered myself educated by this announcement that came from our school district. I felt empowered and I felt safe knowing this information."

Dan Klemencic, communications coordinator for Nicolet High School, said administrators there haven't heard anything like this happening at Nicolet so far.

"Nicolet has their own photographer so it would be weird if someone contacted parents," Klemencic said. 

Jeff Rumage November 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Just to clear up any confusion, Whitefish Bay school officials have not received any reports of their student-athletes being approached by this fake reporter. The advisory from the Journal Sentinel was sent to all high school athletic directors throughout the region. Whitefish Bay was likely more transparent than other districts in sharing the news with all high school parents, not just coaches and athletes.

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