Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Suspended Gazette journalist offered reinstatement, declines

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 5:42 PM

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With a phone call and a tweet, the bizarre journey of a Gazette journalist censured for disseminating information from a reputable source on Facebook ended.

"So, HR called me and said, ‘We would like to reinstate your job,'" Barrett Tryon says in a phone conversation with the Indy, referencing Freedom Communication's human-resources department. "She’s like, ‘You need to be here tomorrow morning at 8:45.’ And I said, ‘Let me make a phone call.’ I consulted with my attorney; I called back and I said, ‘I respectfully decline. What is the back-pay situation?’ She’s like, ‘Well, so you’re resigning?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’"

Despite a seeming victory, Tryon says the situation's changed to where he'd rather pursue other options.

"I think after I realized there was support from so many people locally and nationally that I’m not really interested in working for an organization [where] we would even have this conversation; that there was never a dialogue to begin with — and that’s unfortunate," he says. "And I hope that the takeaway is that people realize that, if you do have a social-media policy in place, it’s important that you know what it is, and how it can be interpreted or misinterpreted."

The whole bit created an interesting scenario, to where former Gazette editor Warren Epstein told the Indy he thought content director (and Tryon's boss) Carmen Boles was "screwed" no matter what happens.

"I mean, I think they have a lot to lose because he’s a valuable employee, and I think they have a lot to lose in face, [because] of this national attention at a terrible time to get it," Epstein said in the interview. "It’s a black eye."

As well, Tryon's former co-workers were often less than supportive throughout the ordeal, a fact not lost on the former TV journalist.

"I’m not interested — I’m just no longer interested, and I can’t even imagine what it would be like walking back into that newsroom like nothing ever happened," Tryon says. "I would have no problem doing that — I can’t speak for other people; I’ll just say I can’t. I have too much self-respect to do that."

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