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Want yet another example of the Associated Press’ out-of-date approach to things (as if there weren’t enough already)?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.

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Companies: associated press, facebook, mcclatchy

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

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14 Comments
Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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.

dealguru (user link) says:

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.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: 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.

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