This site has also now obtained a copy of a resignation latter submitted last night by one of the Register-Star’s reporters, shedding further light into what has transpired at the paper in recent days in the wake of the abrupt firing of reporter Tom Casey. The source states that “part of [management’s] reaction to the letter was to call one staff member at a time into a closed conference room for long talks about the matter.” The resignation letter is reproduced in full below:
Dear Theresa and Roger,
I enjoyed my time at the paper, but don’t feel comfortable reporting here any longer. I feel, from talking with Francesca and a newsroom member who heard yelling in the conference room before she resigned, that Francesca was belittled into doing so. I feel this was due to her involvement with a letter signed by HCN reporters and editors. The letter, addressing our collective point of view regarding a prior matter, was very reasonably written, in my opinion, and did not deserve such a reaction from management.
Part of the irony here is that this is a newspaper, where freedom of speech is supposed to be championed, not quashed out. At Hudson-Catskill Newspapers, the reporters run on their integrity, their love for the job, their pride in seeking the truth and reporting what’s fit to print. It’s why we here accepted such dismal pay. In the end, I personally could not continue working in a newsroom where I might worry over whether I could always hold the freedom to report things I witnessed and saw as truths, without being fired, for what I simply see as doing the job of a journalist.
Not knowing whether I could voice my opinions on news judgments without repercussions in the future is the main reason I am resigning tonight.
As I said in the conference room today, I think it’s perfectly fine to have disagreements over what is news and what is not. The management has final say in those matters. But I feel here that a healthy questioning from the reporters on the front lines of the community and editors closely involved each night in news judgments was swiftly rejected. It’s tough to be submissive to the idea of such an environment, despite (but, ultimately due to) my love for reporting.
I agree with you both that it is unfortunate this situation escalated as it did.
Again, I had fun. It was a hell of a news team while it lasted.
Best of luck.