Huntsville Reporter Fired After Posting Confessional Blog



Journalists are usually big fans of the right to self-expression, but many of their employers are a little more wary. One Hunstville station might have been so irked by one of its reporter's blog posts that it fired her, reports Mediaite. The post offered up jokey behind-the-scenes details of the reporter's TV life, including a supposed fear of "old people" and her occasionally bra-less appearances on the air.

Shea Allen, a reporter of Huntsville, Ala.-based ABC affiliate WAAY-TV, published the post last week, originally titled: "Confessions of a Red-Headed Reporter." Allen said that although she complied when urged to take it down by her bosses, a short time later she republished it with the prefix, "No Apologies." The original post reportedly read:

1. I've gone bra-less during a live broadcast and no one was the wiser.

2. My best sources are the ones who secretly have a crush on me.

3. I am better live when I have no script and no idea what I'm talking about.

4. I've mastered the ability to contort my body into a position that makes me appear much skinner in front of the camera than I actually am.

5. I hate the right side of my face.

6. I'm frightened of old people and I refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside.

7. Happy, fluffy, rainbow stories about good things make me depressed.

8. I've taken naps in the news car.

9. If you ramble and I deem you unnecessary for my story, I'll stop recording but let you think otherwise.

10. I've stolen mail and then put it back. (maybe)



Then, after having taken it down, Allen reposted it with this preface:


This post was taken down because I was momentarily misguided about who I am and what I stand for. To clarify, I make no apologies for the following re-post. It's funny, satirical and will likely offend some of the more conservative folks. But it isn't fake and its a genuine look into my slightly twisted psyche.

Here's the thing, I've vowed to always fight for the right of free expression. It's allowed, no matter what the profession. I pride myself in having earned the respect of many because I make no apologies for the truth and hold nothing back. I don't fight for things because they serve me, I fight for them because they are right. Sources trust me because I am an unadulterated version of the truth. I won't ever bend just because its popular to do so and I'm not bending now.


Allen, who's worked in TV news since she graduated college in 2009, according to her LinkedIn profile, tweeted on Monday that she was "terminated without cause," adding, "If I'm going to take a stand on transparency, I gotta tell the whole story." WAAY-TV told the "Today" show that it doesn't comment on personnel matters.

More: Facebook Posts And Tweets That Can Get You Fired

"I know it sounds cliche, but I'm in this business to make a difference and my ability to do so has been taken away," she told "Today."

Plenty of American workers have been fired over their personal blogs; it's even got a name -- being "dooced." But reporters might get in more trouble than most for off-the-clock online commentary, because they're encouraged to be active on social media as part of their jobs. Usually, these cases involve reporters compromising their objectivity, such as Octavia Nasr, CNN's senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs, who was fired over a tweet praising a Hezbollah leader, and the Politco reporter Joe Williams, who was fired after saying that Mitt Romney only seemed comfortable around "white folks" on MSNBC.

But sometimes reporters are pink-slipped, as Allen might have been, simply for getting a little too cozy on the Web. The Arizona Daily Star fired its sports reporter of 10 years, Brian Pedersen, after he'd posted tweets such as "What?!?!? No overnight homicide? WTF? You're slacking Tucson." He appealed his firing to the National Labor Relations Board, which sided with the Tucson newspaper.


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202 Comments

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poettomm

JMG62 - got it pretty right - I think Shea kinda lost track of the division between Professional Journalism and "Keeping up with the Kardashians" - I think you have the energy and the intention to make it through this distinctly tough spot - you got my backing for your "balls" Shea - good luck and good jobhunting.

August 05 2013 at 9:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jmg62

OK, well now Shea, you can be true to yourself as much as you like - wherever you like - and have as MUCH freedom of speech and freedom of the Internet "press" as you can stand. Ever hear of "Right to Work"? They don't need much of a reason to terminate and since the GOP just got around to approving the President's nominee for head of the NRLB - not much is gonna change soon. (Maybe one of your "be-crushed sources" will help ya with the bills now? At least that'd be a quid pro quo arrangement!? (Oh, and you'll also have the opportunity to go bra-less ALL THE TIME TOO!) To get some "quo" ya might have to give a little "quid" yourself now. Enjoy!

August 02 2013 at 4:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sherrie

1. Who cares?
2. No surprises.
3.In her own inflated opinion
4.No surprises
5.That's OK we hate both sides
6.I want to see this goof in twenty years when SHE is "old", and laugh.
7.You are picking the wrong stories, then
8.Of course
9.Of course,reasonable.
10.Thanks, the US Postal Service will get back to you.....

August 01 2013 at 9:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sonny

Freedom of speech??? freedom of the press??? now just little people pulling rank...

August 01 2013 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
d1anaw

I didn't think it was funny. There wasn't anything shocking or revealing. I thought it sounded like it was written by someone who was unprofessional and extremely immature. How old is this person, she sounds about 17.

August 01 2013 at 3:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Living Legend

Sounds like she wants a job as a politician.

August 01 2013 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bigmac25

HEY!

It's the media.

They HATE honesty in ALL respects.

August 01 2013 at 11:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bigmac25's comment
Sherrie

Yes, especially Faux and the Koch machine..

August 01 2013 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
wwelbes

So people should be free to leak to the press, but not on the press.

August 01 2013 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mmgabbert

I like the irony of this situation. A person that only expresses her opinion and doesn't have any power to make other people do as she does is chastized in the media publicly. However, the people in Washington that makes laws for this country, spends the tax payer money on friviolity and does much worse things that are very immoral are given a slap on the wrist and told not to get caught again. What's wrong with this country...........

July 31 2013 at 5:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fennris

I can almost see the station's point - the post playfully pokes holes into the "mystique" of her craft. But if that is the main reason for the termination then someone in charge is obviously taking the wrong things way too seriously. I applaud her for sticking to her principles: I'd likely have ducked my head, taken down the post that offended someone and try to keep my job.

July 31 2013 at 5:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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