Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Free Brendan O'Meara! (Or hire him, actually)

Tonight comes the unfortunate news that a friend of mine, Brendan O'Meara, is now the "award-winning former sportswriter for the Saratogian" in New York. From Brendan's blog, The Carryover (also linked below left in Railbirds Row), we learn that he was let go by the paper today apparently for criticizing its corporate management's lack of commitment to covering the Triple Crown trail.

Imagine that, a turf writer who thinks his newspaper chain should carry more racing news!

I don't know what Brendan said (or wrote) or where he did so. What I am completely comfortable telling the world is, I gave the kid his first full-time job in journalism, I worked with him for quite awhile before he went back to college for his master's degree, and in my 20 years of newspapering I've never had an employee who was more conscientious, hard-working, professional, respectful of authority and polite almost to a fault. So I find it difficult to believe that Brendan O'Meara really crossed any lines in his behavior.

That stated, I'll end with two points, from far-opposite sides of the equation.

1. I'll admit that I also have had to fire people who I never thought would push me that far. Wildly inappropriate or ill-considered comments against the paper or the company that could undermine employee morale or the publication's credibility with readers would be near the top of my list of ax-worthy offenses.

2. A newspaper that is uncomfortable or unwilling to engage in professional self-reflection about whether it does the job well -- and that moves mercilessly to quash internal criticism -- might not be secure enough in its own convictions and commitment to excellence to be trusted by its readers as the watchdog and town crier of its community.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Glenn

    As an avid reader of "The Carryover" it's really nice to read your comments and be able to hold onto some faith that the newspaper world does still include some rational folks. Good luck with your horse


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