Apparently If You Work For The AP, You're Not Allowed To Criticize Newspaper Management

from the keep-quiet,-peon dept

Want yet another example of the Associated Press' out-of-date approach to things (as if there weren't enough already)? The organization apparently officially reprimanded a reporter, Richard Richtmyer, who made an offhand comment on his Facebook page, mildly criticizing the management of McClatchy, a large newspaper chain (and, of course, an AP member). On the whole, the comment (about trouble at McClatchy) was pretty benign:
It seems like the ones who orchestrated the whole mess should be losing their jobs or getting pushed into smaller quarters. But they aren't.
Apparently that was enough to get an official reprimand letter put on file (though, the union is now protesting this). However, it shows the way the AP still views the journalism business, where actually expressing some sort of opinion is somehow seen as an offense. In this case, it wasn't even in his capacity as a reporter, which makes the whole thing even sillier. I'm going to trust someone who is free to tell me their opinion over someone who has to pretend he has no opinion, any day.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 5:19am

    Bunch of cigar chomping paper pushers think the employees do not have a right to voice their personal opinions ...
    film at eleven

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Designerfx (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 5:39am

    waaait

    wasn't there an article where they said "you can't criticize if you don't work for xyz"? I think you covered it about a week back, Mike. Which way do they want it? So apparently we just can't criticize at all?

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 5:53am

    I'm always afraid of writing anything about work, I'll talk about it, among close friends, with alcohol where memories tend to get murdered... but employers don't have such things as "free speech" written in their books.

     

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  4.  
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    IT Blogger, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    opinions

    It's great to know how much trouble you can get into for your opinion. Especially when it's not even libel.

     

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  5.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 7:05am

    What am I missing?

    "The organization apparently officially reprimanded a reporter, Richard Richtmyer, who made an offhand comment on his Facebook page..."

    Ok, the issue of whether an organization ought to be reprimanding employees for what they do/say on social sites aside, was this comment in a Facebook blog in which he is specifically representing himself as an AP reporter? Or was it just some kind of status or info comment? Because if it was, I'm not sure:

    "it shows the way the AP still views the journalism business, where actually expressing some sort of opinion is somehow seen as an offense"

    makes much sense, at least to me. If it's just a Facebook blurb, what does that have to do with the journalism business? FYI, can't view FB at work, so I might honestly be missing something important here.

     

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  6.  
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    Jim Lillicotch, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 7:11am

    They're Not The Only Ones

    It's not like they're the only ones. The last two places I worked were like that. Management was always right and if not You were the problem.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 7:25am

    The same thing happened to a DJ at a radio station local to my area. He was off the air for two weeks after a couple of on-air comments about his corporate overlords.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    hexjones, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    I am so sick of Journalists acting high and mighty as if they have a sacred mandate and are the protectors of the free world as long as they don't express anything.

     

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  9.  
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    dealguru, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    don't most companies have a 'non-disparagement' clause?

    I seem to recall that most companies I've worked for have some professional conduct standards that you sign when you're hired. A search in google for "employee handbook" and disparage led me to this standard clause: Employee shall not "Disparage Employer in any way which could adversely affect the goodwill, reputation or business relationships of Employer with the public generally, or with any of its Customers, suppliers or employees." This one was from the Meridian group.

    The point is that public disparagement of your employer, even if they deserve it, could hurt their reputation, goodwill, and adversely affect customer conversions/sales, etc. If you ran a business would you want your employees persuading customers not to buy from you (directly or by reading about it a blog)? There's no doubt that problems should be made visible and fixed, but the trick is to find the right way to do it.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 10:40am

    Oddly, where I use to work I couldn't call out my bosses in public either without risking my job.

    Why is online any different? What planet do you like on Mike?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 12:45pm

    Re:

    Do two wrongs make a right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Re:

    No, but two wrights made an airplane.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    three rights make a left.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 10th, 2009 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    Oddly, where I use to work I couldn't call out my bosses in public either without risking my job.

    (a) It's not his bosses that he's calling out.

    (b) As a reporter he should be able to express his views on a particular subject. Otherwise, based on your logic, no reporter could ever criticize another company, as they might be partners/advertisers.

    That's not a planet I want to live on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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