One Delaware reporter defends another | 802 Online
Pin It

Thursday, February 2, 2006

One Delaware reporter defends another

Posted By on Thu, Feb 2, 2006 at 12:05 PM

In a News Journal op-ed, reporter Al Mascitti sort of defends fired Dover Post reporter Matt Donegan. He also includes an interview with the Post's editor, Don Flood. Flood explains why he fired Donegan:

"Delaware is a small place," Flood said... "I knew this was going toget out there. I couldn't very well have Matt cover [an event such as]an NAACP meeting. If they objected, I couldn't very well say, 'Hey, youhave to lighten up a little bit.' "

The greater sin, Flood said,involved the publishing of newsroom meetings. "I can't have somebodydiscussing comments in the office about some of the stories we're goingto cover, and reasons we may or may not cover them."

But Mascitti concludes by saying he can understand why bloggers are upset. The internet, he points out, is one of the last places people have freedom of speech. He cites Cindy Sheehan's ridiculous arrest at the state of the union as evidence that our freedom of speech is eroding.

Ok, let me be clear. I agree that our freedom of speech in this country is imperiled. No argument there. But I don't have a lot of sympathy for this guy. Are any of us entitled to say whatever we want on our blogs regardless of how that will impact our employers? Unless our employers know and approve, I don't think we are. You wouldn't stand in front of your boss and badmouth your company and your job. You wouldn't badmouth the company on TV or in the newspaper and still expect to have a job. Why would you think you could do that online? Bloggers have to use common sense, just like anybody else. Maybe the courts will decide otherwise, but I doubt it.

That editor is absolutely right to ask how readers would feel if that reporter covered an NAACP meeting. That's a legitimate concern. Believe me, if I found out that a Burlington Free Press reporter talked about his job on some racy blog using his or her real name, I think that would be news. Likewise, if I found a blog by a Burlington cop, or an elected official, or a teacher that was racist or homophobic or pornographic, I would point it out. If you're putting one face out to the public, it's news when you show a different face online. Period.   

That said, it's worth noting that the editor could have avoided this whole kerfuffle if he had known about Donegan's blog and talked with him about it. Why didn't the editor have a blogging policy in place? Why didn't he talk about online publishing etiquette with his staff? I'm sure they talked about the protocol for writing for other publications. It just boggles my mind that people in the media don't think about this.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

Did you appreciate this story?

Show us your ❤️ by becoming a Seven Days Super Reader.

About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Deputy publisher Cathy Resmer is an organizer of the Vermont Tech Jam, and compiles a weekly tech e-newsletter every Monday. She also oversees HR, helps manage Seven Days' digital staff and oversees its parenting publication, Kids VT. In 2018, she designed and administered a statewide youth civics project, the... more

More by Cathy Resmer

  • Social Sentinel, Burlington Code Academy and Maureen McElaney Win Awards at 12th Vermont Tech Jam
  • Vermont's Top Innovators Honored at Tech Jam 2018

    Social Sentinel, a Burlington-based company that identifies threatening content on social media, was among the winners of the 2018 Tech Jam awards, presented last Friday at the 12th Vermont Tech Jam. The prizes, given annually by the Vermont Technology Alliance, BTV Ignite and Seven Days, recognize leaders in the state's tech ecosystem. The awards ceremony was the culmination of a busy day at the free career and tech expo organized by Seven Days and presented by Vermont Works. Representatives from more than 50 companies and colleges talked with hundreds of attendees who walked the expo floor. Jeff Couture, executive director of the Vermont Technology Alliance, said he talked with job seekers from across Vermont and outside the state at the event, "including someone, suitcase in hand, who visited from North Carolina."
    • Oct 23, 2018
  • Inspiring Projects to See, Hear and Play With at the Vermont Tech Jam
  • Inspiring Projects to See, Hear and Play With at the Vermont Tech Jam

    • Oct 17, 2018
  • The Tech Issue — 2018
  • The Tech Issue — 2018

    • Oct 17, 2018
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Latest in 802 Online

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2019 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation