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I Got Fired

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by editorhoo, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. editorhoo

    editorhoo Member

    OK, here I go,

    I got fired from my shop which I have worked at for 18 years, more than half my life. The reason I was given for my termination was that I wrote a story for a rival newspaper. Said rival newspaper has a full-time sports writer who has written a weekly column for my paper the last 15 years, so it's not like sharing information between the two of us is unprecedented. Also, I have (had) a part-time worker on my staff who is an editor at a paper 15 miles from my location. We share information on schools we both cover all the time.

    This is what happened: My "rival" paper called me and said they didn't have anyone available to cover a state semifinal football game and wondered if I would be willing to write a story for them. Although the team involved is in my coverage area, I have other writers on my staff who have been responsible for covering them, so I said I wouldn't be covering the game, but I could have a writer on my staff who would be at the game shoot them a story. Upon second thought, I figured rather than have someone on my staff be responsible for writing a story for two papers and put them on double-deadline pressure, so to speak, I could go to the game, write them a quick 12-incher, then go back to my shop and lay out our section.

    I did that, and in fact, I was waiting on my writers to complete their stories so I could put our section to bed. Bottom line, I did my normal job and was not derelict in my duties in any way. I merely was helping out a colleague, which is something that's done in our area all the time. I can't stress enough that papers within our area share information and stories all the time. In fact, one of my writers wrote a story for the same team I'm talking about for another paper when they played in the first round of the playoffs.

    In my 10 years as editor at this shop, I have earned 19 state-wide AP awards, ranging from Best Sports Writer, to Best Headline Writer, to Best Daily Section, to Best Special Sports Section, to Best Game Story. I mention this not to brag in any way, but only to point out that the work I have been producing is respected among my peers.

    I also should point out that the owner of my shop and the owner of the shop I wrote the story for that got me fired are at a major personal war. I can't help but feel that I was a pawn in a rich-man's game.

    I'd really appreciate some thoughts on this situation, and I don't need any trash thrown my way. This job I just got fired from is the only thing in this world I know how to do, and I honestly don't know where to go from here. I don't need negativtity, I need help and support because I honestly feel that within six months I may be homeless.

    Let me know what you think.
     
  2. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Holy shit, man.

    Sorry to hear this.
     
  3. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    start organizing any info that you think may help you when it comes to unemployment. document everything. as someone who went through the same thing (different but just as unjust reasoning), i'd also suggest taking a few days to just decompress. good luck.
     
  4. Flash

    Flash Guest

    Aw dude, your head must be spinning right now. So sorry to hear. Go to the resource sticky in the Journalism forum.

    You can do something else. You just need some time to figure it out.
     
  5. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    Sorry to hear this. I echo the post above; document everything. Start by writing up your version of events as they happened. Next, document instances of content-sharing between your two papers and, if applicable, between your paper and other papers.

    Get a list going: "Sunday, Nov. 16. 18-inch column "Local man does good" by John Doe appeared on B-3." If you're an editor, you know if and what these contributors were paid. Note that as well.

    If you know details of this rich-man war, document that as well. As you document, try to be as objective as possible. No editorializing. No obscenities. Stick to what you can confirm or observed, not speculation.

    Contact your HR person and see if it's possible to add your documentation to your personnel file, sort of a "your side of the story" for the records.

    Do look into your unemployment options.

    Good luck.
     
  6. JR

    JR Active Member

    Well, I don't know about the labour laws in your jurisdiction but I'd hire a lawyer.
     
  7. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    I see great minds think alike, HC and JR. :)
     
  8. outofplace

    outofplace Well-Known Member

    That was the first thing that popped into my head as well. If you can prove that others have done exactly what you were fired for, it might be worth considering.
     
  9. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Definitely go talk to a lawyer. Heck, most of the time, they won't charge if there isn't a case.

    Although a lot could depend if your in a at-will state or a right to work state.
     
  10. prezclinton

    prezclinton Active Member

    Don't take this as criticism, but did you ok it with any higher ups?
     
  11. txsportsscribe

    txsportsscribe Active Member

    not to throw a wet blanket on the lawyer talk but employment cases generally aren't taken on a contingency basis.
     
  12. Colton

    Colton Active Member

    this sucks balls, editorhoo. Hang in there.
     
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