- Leon Panetta named as source of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ scriptwriter’s information
- Mandela service sign language interpreter: ‘He made up his own signs’
- Pope Francis named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
- Ben Affleck: Fundraising for Democrats started to ‘feel gross’
- Vladimir Putin orders military to boost presence in Arctic
- Brooklyn, N.Y.: ‘Lesbian capital’ of the Northeast
- Elian Gonzalez: It’s America’s fault that my mother died
- India top court rules homosexuality is illegal
- Aaron Hernandez, ex-Patriot, on prison life: ‘I’m way less stressed in jail’
- Man pulled from water believed to be disgraced D.C. cop
Ex-reporter Jayson Blair now working as life coach
McLEAN, Va. (AP) -- Jayson Blair knows his new profession -- life coach -- smacks some people in the face like a bad punchline.
"People say, 'Wait a minute. You're a life coach?' That makes no sense,'" says Blair, the ex-journalist best known for foisting plagiarism and fabrications into the pages of The New York Times. "Then they think about my life experiences and what I've been through and they say 'Wait a minute. It does make sense.'"
Blair, 33, resigned from the Times in 2003, leaving a journalistic scandal in his wake. The resulting furor led the paper's top two newsroom executives to resign. Blair wrote a book, then mostly disappeared from view.
For the past two years, he has been quietly working as a certified life coach for one of the most respected mental health practices in northern Virginia.
"He can relate to patients just beautifully," said Michael Oberschneider, the psychologist who hired Blair and urged him to become a life coach. "Sometimes you just meet people in life who have these electric personalities. Well, Jayson is now using his talents for good."
Oberschneider, director of Ashburn Psychological Services, took an interest in Blair after seeing him lead a support group for people with bipolar disorder that Blair founded in his hometown of Centreville after being diagnosed himself.
Oberschneider said he took a long, hard look at Blair before hiring him, in large part because of his past, which included substance abuse. But he was impressed at the rapport Blair had established with members of the support group.
"Very few people can go through what he did and come back," Oberschneider said. "He really is a success story."
Blair says his empathy for his clients is his biggest asset.
"They know I've been in their shoes," he said. "I think it can feel a little more authentic."
Blair said clients rarely know his history at first, but it inevitably comes up within a session or two as Blair relates his own experiences. Never has a client refused to work with him because of his past.
"I am open about all the details of my problems and that allows people to know who they are listening to," Blair said.
The job itself can be varied. Blair might have 25 or so clients at any given time. Some might be seeking career counseling, including corporate executives from the Dulles technology corridor seeking advancement -- a natural for Blair, who schmoozed his way through newsroom politics to land a premier reporting gig in his mid-20s without a college degree.
Others might have substance abuse problems, and some might simply have motivational issues.
Blair said he has thought about going to school for a psychology degree, but isn't sure if it would be the best fit for him.
"I don't really think too much about the long term," he said. "I like the idea that I can help people avoid some of the mistakes I made."
On the Web: www.jayson-blair.com
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Teen thugs in DC run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- New budget accord saves $23 billion -- after $65 billion spending spree
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Obama hits new poll lows for approval 38 percent
- Gov't Motors: Obama fudges math on auto bailout, $10.5 billion loss for taxpayers
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- LAMBRO: The dark lining to the silver cloud of Obamanomics
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Television commentary, reviews, news and nonstop DVR catch-up by Lisa King Dolloff and friends.
Helping the YOUniverse conspire on your behalf.
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow