The former editor of the Idaho Statesman declined an offer from McClatchy to return to her position.
On Monday, the Idaho News Guild, the union representing the Statesman’s newsroom, sent out a letter demanding the reinstatement of top editor Christina Lords after they say McClatchy fired her. The union said the company fired her after she tweeted her frustration last week about cuts to newsroom resources, including a struggle to get Excel installed on a new reporter’s computer.
McClatchy has offered my job back, with certain stipulations I did not feel comfortable agreeing to. I appreciate the gesture to find common ground more than I can say, but the best thing for me is to make a break from this company. I can’t thank you enough for the support.— Christina Lords (@ChristinaLords) January 27, 2021
Their statement on Lords’ departure from the company spurred outrage and support from some in the local community, other newspaper unions and journalists on social media from across the country.
In a tweet Tuesday, Lords said the company gave her the opportunity to return to work, but she decided to decline their offer.
“McClatchy has offered my job back, with certain stipulations I did not feel comfortable agreeing to,” she wrote. “I appreciate the gesture to find common ground more than I can say, but the best thing for me is to make a break from this company. I can’t thank you enough for the support.”
McClatchy casts doubt on ‘social media’
After Lords made her statement, McClatchy’s Director of PR & Communications sent an email to BoiseDev from the company’s Senior Vice President of News Kristin Roberts. The letter also went to some community members who expressed support for Lords.
In the email, Roberts said she had talked to Lords about returning and she declined. The email also went on to dispute the Idaho News Guild’s story about why Lords was terminated, but it did not give a reason why because it was a “personnel matter.”
The letter told those who wrote in that Roberts and Lords spoke today.
“We talked about whether she could return to the newsroom as a leader committed to solving problems together so that our newsroom can be supported. She declined.”
“This company has never terminated anyone’s employment because they were vocal about concerns or because they advocate for staff. Indeed, our news leaders across the country advocate for our staff every day,” Roberts said in the email.
Robert said employees have access to Microsoft Excel “where needed.”
“Information on social media is often incomplete, underscoring the importance of independent news organizations.”
BoiseDev asked McClatchy yesterday about the reasons for Lords’ departure in an attempt to inform the public of the steps that led to the firing, but the company declined to answer them.
Idaho journalists and readers have lost a champion of local news because of the decisions made by out-of-state executives. We are angry. We are hurting. But the fight isn’t over, and we need your continued support in the months to come.— Idaho News Guild (@IdahoNewsGuild) January 27, 2021
The Idaho News Guild thanked the community for its support of Lords in a statement Tuesday night and blasted her firing by McClatchy, which they say caused “permanent damage to newsroom morale.”
“Idaho journalists and readers have lost a champion of local news because of the decisions made by out-of-state executives,” the union wrote. “We are angry. We are hurting. But the fight isn’t over, and we need your continued support in the months to come.”
Assistant Editor Chadd Cripe is currently serving as Interim Editor of the Idaho Statesman.