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Reporter canned over (lack of) byline

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. You gotta side with the reporter on this one.
    I do not think he should have been fired for refusing to put byline on the story. Period.

  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I am with the reporter, but if his bosses were saying he needed to do something about the fact that one of the council members did not stand for the pledge of allegiance, he should had come to some agreement with them.

    Even if the writer thought it was a stupid issue, a lot of readers would disagree.

    I think it would have been reasonable to note it in a short box alongside the story. (And that's what I think the editor should have done instead of putting it in the lede of the story.)
  3. Putting aside the pledge issue, I would not be happy to have two poorly written, wishy-washy paragraphs like that inserted into my work. Aren't editors supposed to remove unsourced vagary like "some in the audience were upset" and passive voice crap like "no comment could be reached"?
  4. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    This story sure doesn't seem like the type the reporter should have made his Maginot Line. Quitting over not wanting to note something that probably would be the most interesting story on his beat all year?

    Here's where the justification could come, tho: "At the start of the meeting some in the audience were upset over Third Ward Alderman John Friedman’s decision not to stand for the pledge of allegiance." If people truly weren't upset, then I could how he could be ticked. But a reporter's work is not sacred. Copy editors and assignment editors insert stuff, move stuff around all the time. Seems way overdramatic of a gesture by the reporter, and now other places may see him as too sensitive or high-maintenance to hire.
  5. He didn't quit. He was fired.
    Unless you read something, somewhere, I missed.
  6. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    My bad; should have said "getting fired over."

    Of course, we probably don't have all the knowledge we need. Is this an angle management wanted him to cover before and he resisted? Is it a controversy, the talk of the meeting, the reporter should have been following? Did the editors try to work with him on the best way to craft it.

    In any event, I stand by saying that it looks like something he should have done something on at some point. Maybe he had made it clear he never would.
  7. I agree. I don't think we have all the angles here.. But. fired for refusing to put your byline on this? No way.
  8. I'd have to say the fact a councilman refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance is the story.

    Whatever governmental mechanics that occurred once the meeting began are the notes. But what makes this newsworthy is the refusal beforehand. I don't think there's odd about "drumming up controversy." This is the key issue that's newsworthy.

    Like others have said, there's probably a lot of background information here that we're not privvy to, but hell, I'd fire the reporter for missing the news.
  9. Drip

    Drip Active Member

    This sucks on so many levels.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    My understanding is the paper wanted to write an editorial about the council member not standing (sometimes) for the pledge and so asked/ordered the reporter to make note of if the next time.

    The reporter apparently didn't think it was newsworthy and didn't include it so the editor wrote it in the top of the story. The reporter asked/demanded his byline be removed and was fired.

    It's a tough situation because a council member not participating in the pledge could be no big deal to some folks and a huge deal to others.

    Whatever the reporter's belief, the story would generate buzz. National buzz.
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Should have left the story as it is, and have the reporter write a sidebar or, as Ace noted, a small box on the council member.

    But a firing over not wanting to have a byline put on a story is a bit much. Unless there's much more to the story here, such as the reporter having a history of insubordination, the paper shouldn't have thrown a hissy fit over something like this.
  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    And an update: The city editor and two reporters have resigned, apparently in protest:

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