Der Spiegel published a story on my own German hometown a while ago, which was kinda eye-opening for me. I didn’t notice any obvious lies in there, but it left me angry nevertheless because it was obvious that there was a certain narrative and really an actual lack of true reporting with the goal to inform readers. It was really all about telling a “good story”.
So in that sense, Relotius did probably what he was paid for. He apparently broke a few “rules of the game” so to speak, not so smart. Others may be more careful, but the intent doesn’t seem to be exactly what I would call ethical, honest journalism.