Tuesday, July 30, 2013

No WAAY: TV Reporter Fired for Personal Blog Disclosures

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Shea Allen, until last Friday an investigative reporter for Huntsville, Alabama, ABC affiliate WAAY-TV, this week appeared on The Today Show, Inside Edition and gave interviews to more than a half-dozen radio stations. Not bad exposure for a young reporter who attended Georgia's Kennesaw State University.

The problem is that Allen garnered national attention, not for her journalistic prowess, but because she was fired by her employer concerning a personal blog item she posted a week ago entitled Confessions of a Red-Headed Reporter.  Initially, she took down the blog post at the station's behest, but then re-posted it with the explanation: "The post was taken down because I was momentarily misguided about who I am and what I stand for." Channeling freedom of the press icon John Peter Zenger, she went on to say: "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 it's a genuine look into my slightly twisted psyche."

What exactly were the reporter's "confessions" or insights that prompted WAAY, which has not commented officially on the "personnel matter," to part ways with Allen? The revelations include:

  • I've gone bra-less during a live broadcast and no one was the wiser.
  • My best sources are the ones who secretly have a crush on me.
  • I hate the right side of my face.
  • I'm frightened of old people and I refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside.
  • I've taken naps in the news car.
  • I've stolen mail and then put it back (maybe).

Some members of the nation's ever-growing perpetual rage industry are in a dither that Allen's First Amendment rights were trampled  by WAAY-TV in its ham-fisted effort to silence her message.  It could be an over-reaction on the station's part, or maybe the station was embarrassed that it was parading this on-the-airhead on its newscast as a broadcast journalist, the same description that has been applied to the late Peter Jennings and Bill Moyers, for example.

Even though there was no social media in his heyday, somehow the anchor-groupie staff of  "TUOL" can't imagine Walter Cronkite posting: "I'm doing the newscast commando-style tonight without my tighty-whities."

Allen follows in the footsteps of the 1-day wonder news anchor who appeared on Today as part of his national rehabilitation tour after he was fired for dropping an F-bomb and other expletives during his cringe-inducing, flop-sweaty inaugural newscast.

It's becoming less of a mystery as to why public disdain for journalists is on the rise.

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