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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. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    So what some of you are saying is that reporters aren't supposed to write a story, they're supposed to take dictation from their boss and put their name on it?

    In any jurisdiction with any labour law teeth this has wrongful dismissal stamped all over it.
  2. copperpot

    copperpot Well-Known Member

    Here's the story on the situation:

  3. britwrit

    britwrit Well-Known Member

    Even in a down economy. this is one luxury (or right you don't have to give up) when you're young. In your twenties, with no family to support, you can still quit and go teach English in Prague or whatever.
  4. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    So instead of a detailed story on the budget and a detailed look at a board member's refusal to say the pledge, with him telling his side of the story, and reaction from other board members, the community and maybe a look at past history, the readers got a budget story with a couple weird paragraphs tacked on and everyone is now focused on four journalists out of work for taking a stand against shortsighted management.
  5. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    But at least management showed everyone who is not to be crossed, because that is a true sign of leadership, sabatoging your operation to make a point.
  6. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but the editor and the publisher are his bosses. Do what they say or face the consquences. It's really that simple. They don't pay you to stand on moral high ground.
  7. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    He DID do what they said. He came back to the office after going home and added the paragraphs. He just didn't want his name on the story. His immediate boss, the city editor, agreed and allowed him to take it off. HER bosses fired him the next day, without any warning.

    Unless there was a clear rule about not being able to take the bylines off stories, or the guy had a history of defying them (which hasn't been indicated at all), their reasoning for firing him is extremely weak, at best.

    Like the reporters wrote in their letter asking to reinstate him, should any disagreement with the boss result in a firing? If that was the case, then Woodward and Bernstein are lucky they didn't get fired, because they sure had some disagreements with their editors.
  8. Doc Holliday

    Doc Holliday Well-Known Member

    Fair enough.

    Sounds like a mess. But if they wanted his byline on there, he should have left it alone whether the city editor let him take it off or not. In the end, the editor and the publisher are the bosses, which I'm sure he knew.

    Follow your marching orders or suffer the consequences. It's as simple as that.
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    But in this case, there were consequences even though he followed their marching orders.

    It's up to the bosses to set a clear-cut policy on bylines. Obviously, they didn't and decided to throw a tantrum by firing their reporter.
  10. SportsGuyBCK

    SportsGuyBCK Active Member

    Either way, this reporter is going to have a field day when he files with the state employment commission citing wrongful termination ...
  11. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    Are you OK if that clear-cut policy is that nobody withholds bylines?
  12. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't agree with it, but at least there would be something in writing to give the reporters some guidelines.

    And someone else pointed it out earlier, reporters are the ones who have their name on their work. If an editor insists on putting in something libelous, the reporter is the one who will be liable. They should be able to take their name off something they haven't written.
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