Monday, January 17, 2005

The story gets better

Facts in a news story are not like wine. They shouldn't get better and change flavor as time passes. They shouldn't be affected by heat.

When my editor called on Sunday to tell me I was terminated, I asked him for a reason. He said that the newspaper's reason for terminating me was the I had published some of my columns on my blog -- this blog. This is bogus for the reasons I've outlined below ... estoppel by silence.

Today's News and Observer says this on the "how come?" question:
"Just before she left to return her own paper, Bolduc said, she received a call from her editor saying her column was canceled. Ashley said Sunday that ending the column was part of the company's strategy to save money, but Bolduc thinks she was punished for her criticism."

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Estoppel by silence" implies that the other party in your contract was aware of your violation and failed to act. Your blog was discovered last week and your contract was terminated promptly thereafter. I don't know why Ashley gave the answer he did or whether that's even what he said, but, while he may or may not have been asked to sign off on the termination, he wasn't behind it. Your blog was discovered and your contract terminated by old-time H-S folks, some of the 270 of us who you are trying to "help" by staging events at our building with competing media. If this ill will leads to a drop in circulation, it will no doubt bring some satisfaction to some of the 81 people who were laid off and maybe embarass the three people at the paper who didn't work there prior to Jan. 3, but it will also assure that more of us will be escorted to our cars at some later date and that those of us left behind will not see our salaries keep up with our expenses.

Jean Bolduc said...

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that's not how it works.
I have (WITH ATTRIBUTION AND THE PAPER'S KNOWLEDGE) re-published (on the Internet and elsewhere) work I had sold to the Herald-Sun going back to 2000. Other columnists have done this and the company tolerated it. What I have NEVER done is to publish my column on the Internet before it hit the pages of the Chapel Hill Herald and I have never re-sold or re-published it with a competitor.

New management's arrival is not relevant, except that they would likely want to re-sign contracts with any freelancers who remain working for them.

The somewhat recent addition of my blog is irrrelevant.

I regret that my actions have generated the rather obviously simmering anger that's expressed here, but it's misplaced. My single opinion and my very minor protest against the H-S's new management is but a blip on the radar -- if that. I wanted to have my say on the record and they canned me for it. I said all along that such an outcome was not only likely but their perogative. I don't know why they want to hide behind a trumped up cause, but I always said they were free to fire me for what I did.

I said it, they did it, but you seem insistent that I was a gonner before any of this ever happened. I wonder why that would be.

Anonymous said...

I am an insider who support's Bolduc's protest. I think the Paxton people still don't get it. They need to apologize! They need to acknowledge that the way they let people go was undignified, unnecessary. Until Ashley speaks to the point in one of his columns by simply saying "I'm Sorry," I think the issue is unresolved. As it is, when I see his big grinning mug and read about his plans to provide good local coverage, I wince. He has only given two cursory paragraphs to the elephant in the living room, neither one admitting that Paxton did anything wrong. I understand the need to make the paper financially viable. That is not the point. No one argues that. Paxton needs to speak to the accusers who are yelling in their faces: The way it was done was wrong!

cactus said...

Stop your worthless drivel. Exactly what purpose does it serve to go toss newspapers in the driveway? Yes, it's free speech and it's your right. Does the company lose out? No. The papers are paid for. They don't care if you read them or line a birdcage with them. Throwing newspapers is like protesting the Dixie Chicks by stomping on a copy of their CD which you already paid $18 for. It's free speech, but it's also your loss. If you really want to hurt the company then establish a boycott with the advertisers.
Plus, I think after the initial shock of the mass lay offs, people will begin to come around. The paper will still be a quality paper and be big on local news. The reporters and copy editors and other newsroom staff may work twice as hard and long as they once did. They may be forced to work off the clock and accept one percent annual pay raises while Paxton rakes in millions of profits. They may grumble and be up to their ears with lousy morale. But the paper will still be there and still be a good paper.