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Felicia Sonmez

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Elliotte Friedman, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    We should be discussing this.

    Full article here: Washington Post Suspends a Reporter After Her Tweets on Kobe Bryant

    Washington Post Guild statement here: Post Guild statement in support of Felicia Sonmez

    It is important to recognize that Sonmez says she is a victim of sexual misconduct from another reporter (as detailed in the Times story). I have no idea where the tweet is, but, apparently, it has been reported that one of her posts contained private information that violated Post social media guidelines.

    I really hope the penalty is not because of her initial tweet. I knew that was going to be a disaster, but there is no way -- in my opinion -- she should be suspended for it.

  2. Regan MacNeil

    Regan MacNeil Well-Known Member

    I mentioned this on the Kobe thread. I think Kobe all but certainly did what he was accused of. I can't say 100 percent because I wasn't a witness to it.

    But there's a time and a place. With the helicopter wreckage still smoking isn't it, and if I were her boss, I wouldn't want her on any important story ever again if her judgment and sense of timing is THAT bad. If she had tweeted it this morning, I doubt anyone would have batted an eye.
    Dog8Cats likes this.
  3. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    Elsewhere it was claimed the suspension was for sharing the screenshots of the vile stuff she got in her DMs, some of which included email addresses, which I guess is against company policy. If thats the case its a good suspension.

    Share the Bryant stories, put his history out there, fair game good work.... make it about yourself with the pics of the reaction of trolls? I have less sympathy for that.
    Tweener and tapintoamerica like this.
  4. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Totally agree. Her first tweet was nothing more than a retweet. Perhaps it falls under the Too Soon principle, but it's not journalistically unethical. The screen grab with the identifying info of those who wrote vile messages to her is unnecessary. By all means, take that screen grab and send it to the cops. Let them handle it. But don't put it out there for the world to see. That doesn't help anybody, the reporter included.
    The Greg Wemple Blog, which I have always enjoyed, defended the reporter against management while implying the reporter's only crime was retweeting. It glossed over the screen-grab issue.
  5. Severian

    Severian Well-Known Member

    No. Someone willing to take the time and threaten to kill a reporter lost his or her privileges to anonymity.
    sgreenwell and OscarMadison like this.
  6. cake in the rain

    cake in the rain Active Member

    Felicia missed her lesson on intersectionality in Twitter Outrage School.

    It's only OK to destroy certain people on the basis of past allegations. For others who belong to more privileged groups, past allegations can't even be mentioned.
    Liut and 3_Octave_Fart like this.
  7. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    This is a good example of a reporter being a know-it-all busybody and not staying in his/her lane. She exhibited a lapse in judgment and made her colleagues's work more difficult. Plus she sicced people on her and now has to live in a hotel. Ya gotta know the terrain.
    playthrough likes this.
  8. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    I guess if you’re Deadspin or Barstool and you want to “get in the mud” with the cretins, sure.

    If you’re the WaPo and you have a specific policy against doing that its probably a bad idea.

    Look I dont have any sympathy for an asshole who has nothing better to do than Twitter threaten a reporter they’ve never heard of over an RT they don’t like.

    But if thats their clearly defined policy you can’t violate it and then spin about being silenced for daring insult Kobe
  9. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Another bit of this story is the LA Times guy who resigned over the allegations but proceeded to whine about how they ruined his life, saying he was the real victim. Uh, bro. If you’ve been wronged as badly as you claim, sue your accuser. And don’t resign.
    Oh right. You’d have to go through discovery.
  10. Regan MacNeil

    Regan MacNeil Well-Known Member

  11. Severian

    Severian Well-Known Member

    The policy does not specify posting emails of people threatening you on social media is a violation.
  12. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I had never seen that Daily Beast story/link. And clearly, Vanessa Bryant never did, either. If she had, I doubt she would have been playing the part of the supportive wife throughout that time. Indeed, she probably would have followed through with any thoughts/steps toward divorce.

    Kobe Bryant comes off horribly -- entitled, oblivious, a cad, someone with real potential for violence and a willingness to use his size and strength to overpower, and just generally speaking, not a good person at all. I'm not sure I would have trusted him around his four daughters, even.

    And don't get me started on how easily he explained away Michelle, the apparent "other woman" in his and Vanessa's lives, and how he even managed to bring Shaq into the mess like his interview with the police was just some everyday barroom conversation.

    I don't have any problem with Felicia Sonmez bringing all this out in the hours after Bryant's death. I get the sentiment about not doing it quite THAT soon. But, really, if not then, when? While Bryant's funeral/memorial is taking place? Would that be any more appropriate? Because, a few days after that, Bryant's death -- and life -- to put it bluntly, will be old news.

    We're reporters/newspapers/media outlets, and the life-cycle of news is, for better or worse, short. We work on daily, and lately, even hourly (or less) time tables. News is news and should be reported as quickly, fully and in as timely a manner as possible. And in Sonmez's case, an allowance/understanding of her previous allegations of sexual misconduct by L.A. Times Beijing bureau chief Jonathan Kaiman should be taken into consideration.

    I'd think Sonmez's suspension had more to do with any email addresses or other personal information/specifics that might have been tweeted or screen-grabbed. Those types of specific things I could definitely see being in violation of the social-media policy of a large company.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
    sgreenwell likes this.
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