Former reporter sues town official for her firing

fired1A former reporter with the West Virginia Daily News and Greenbrier Valley Ranger, Stephanie R. Ferrell Stover, is suing a former commission president, saying he forced her boss to fire her, reports the Register-Herald.

The gist is that a resident told Stover he wasn’t allowed to speak at a county commission meeting and the organizers wouldn’t place him on the agenda. Stover e-mailed the commission president, Lowell Rose, saying she would give the resident a voice in her story. He then reportedly went to the paper’s publisher.

Stover alleges Rose had the e-mail in question in his hand and said, “I want this taken care of and you know what I mean!” according to the complaint.

“The next morning … (Stover) was admonished and terminated from her employment with the West Virginia Daily News and Greenbrier Valley Ranger,” the suit said.

Rose denies doing anything wrong or pressuring the publisher to fire the reporter. Yet he lost his bid for re-election, citing this as one of the issues that arose.

As a reporter, I feel it was Stover’s job to give that resident a voice. Did she antagonize Rose? Was she being too aggressive? Or was he just annoyed with her and didn’t want to deal with a pushy reporter any longer? I don’t know.

Reporters must develop a balance between being aggressive and being too much of a pushover with their sources. Here is a case where, somehow, the balance was lost and the reporter lost her job.

I don’t exactly understand why she was fired. She didn’t reportedly plagiarize anything. What did she do that was a fire able offense?

[Via Romenesko]

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