Newspaper Puts Reporter On Leave For Posting Link To Article About His Employer On Facebook

from the the-stupidity.-it-burns. dept

We've mocked various newspapers for their ridiculous "social media policies" in the past -- which often try to limit how reporters engage with the community. The whole notion seems backwards. But now one newspaper -- the Colorado Gazette -- has taken things to ridiculous extremes: putting reporter Barrett Tryon on administrative leave for posting a link to a news story about his own newspaper on Facebook. Apparently, the Colorado Gazette's parent company, Freedom Communications, was purchased by a company called 2100 Trust. Soon after that happened, the LA Times reported that the company expected to spin off some of the smaller newspapers, including the Gazette. Given all of this, Tryon posted the following to his Facebook page:
The text is a direct quote from the LA Times. The "content director" for the Gazette apparently told Tryon that he had to take down the status update, saying he needed to "remove it per our social media policy which you signed upon employment." The claim was that "this does not meet our standards of factual information" and thus was "perpetuating rumor..."

This is, of course, crazy. Tryon, rightly, pushed back and refused, and there was some back and forth (detailed at that link above) eventually leading to a "referral to human resources" for possible disciplinary action. Tryon, reasonably worried, sought to bring his lawyer to the meeting. However, HR told him that the original meeting was cancelled, and that since the company's own lawyer couldn't be there it would be "one-sided" for him to bring his own lawyer. Instead... they placed him on administrative leave, despite no actual meeting or chance to hear his side of the story.

Yes, the end result is that a reporter for a newspaper has basically been suspended from his job for the sin of posting a link to a credible news source about something that was happening with his own company. And people wonder why these kinds of newspapers are having trouble staying in business (or attracting top talent). Who would ever want to work for this newspaper?

Filed Under: barrett tryon, human resources, newspapers, social media
Companies: 2100 trust, colorado gazette, freedom communications

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  1. identicon
    Lord Binky, 15 Jun 2012 @ 11:03am


    He signed the agreement in confidence that the company would be competent in identifying facts. However, the company is changing definitions of words to use the agreement however they want. "Standards of factual information" is basically being used to say "our opinion" because even if he posted that "The earth is not flat" they could say that it does not meet THEIR standards of facts, regardless of the actual fact of the statement.

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