What's this blog really about?

You may notice a variety of topics here - from business, to charity promotion, even to local news, but the primary reason this blog was created was to alert readers to the hostile atmosphere and sexual harassment at The Danville Register & Bee. The readers and creator of this blog want a FULL FRONT PAGE apology in the Danville Register & Bee, plus the disciplining of those individuals involved. Until then, we'll continue to post regular updates. To tolerate THIS kind of behavior by a major media network is intolerable. And this isn't just ONE instance. Media General has been sued nationwide for racism and sexism, yet they CONTINUE to keep the offenders employed. Why? And why am I doing this? TRUTH compels me.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why I'm writing this....Re: comment

I had a comment from someone with a glowing recounting of the award winning stories of John Hall, a Media General reporter who also wrote about the explosion on the U.S.S. Iowa. Perhaps dear readers you misunderstand this blog. I am not saying there are NO good Media General reporters. I'm saying Media General's Corporate failure to enforce what they say is a policy of no sexual harassment company wide is the problem. This isn't about writing ability. It's about a corporate HR department who seems driven to protect a reporter who was sexually harassing women and a newsroom management team that seems just as driven to say that's okay!

By allowing/tolerating and refusing to take action on a newsroom that has shown an ongoing pattern of hostility, sexual harassment, bullying, relationships between supervisors and subordinates and retaliation against those who complain about it - they're sending a very clear message that is shocking. Some attorney has probably told them, "As long as you say 'Bad boys. Stop that now,' and show the courts you communicated the policy - whether anyone listened or not, you're okay." That's my guess. I don't know that for a fact, but - it's a good guess.

But my question is, if the same people are in charge and the behavior continues, are they really doing anything (seriously doing anything) to truly STOP it?

WHY would good writers like John Hall or Todd Foster - men who write and investigate well - want to be associated with a corporate office that allows that kind of behavior - or worse, keep a reporter on that they know does that? Can you say, liability!?

This isn't a blog about the quality of SOME Media General reporters WRITING abilities.
This is about the behavior of several Media General reporters that the corporate offices seem not to care about. I did some great reporting too - for about three months - until the bullying and retaliation started. Even after that Associated Press picked up my stories and I continued to win the occasional honorable mention in the Mega Awards. Even Guy Lucas noticed my efforts when it came to doing video, photos and writing.

Yet - Bernard Baker - who during my performance review said he didn't even know he was my supervisor for the past several months - he thought Darren was (Keystone Cops). Said my performance was suffering. Odd.

He said I was brilliant for the first three months, then went downhill. As I pointed out - that was the same time the bullying and harassment started over my complaining about Fred Ingram. Arnold Hendrix told me he could no longer "praise me in public" ie. the editorial meetings because it created tension and jealousy. Can you say BULLIES? Number one reason for bullying - jealousy....Even Bernard didn't care for Mac - saying one time he wished he could leave a package of diapers on Mac's desk with a note to "grow up."

I noticed my performance and joy in my job deteriorated rapidly for the next eight months as the PTSD set in while I tolerated Brandy's constant whining, trashing of co-workers and her complaints that the only reason Kyle wasn't fired was because he was Black. Remember Brandy? She complained that I took too many photos of black people.

The harassment from Mac and the atmosphere and hostility in general. I was taken off of stories and the kinds of tasks I did well - much like I hear Rocky Womack was taken off the Ag beat when he started gaining attention and recognition for his writing - which I thought was excellent - and did those who kept giving him awards for his writing. You go Rocky!!!

I struggled with whether or not to leave Danville and take a job elsewhere - I had several interviews and could have taken another job - but I asked myself, "Why should I be the one forced out? I didn't do anything wrong! I'm the target. They're making me the victim."

Then the layoffs in the graphics department started. That was ugly - there's no reason for anyone to hand a cardboard box to someone who's worked there for 35 years and say, "You have 15 minutes to get your stuff together and get out." No love lost there. No warning, no decency. I dare say the 750 people Media General is laying off in the next few months will get any better treatment.

Now I have several hundred - no, thousands of dollars of medical bills to pay off due to the PTSD and the stress caused by the bullying. And why? Because the Danville Register & Bee has a glorified clerk/typist for an HR person - not anyone with any real training or background in personnel or psychology or mediation or investigatory practices.

As another journalist said to me in response to that whole "federal crime" thing - this is the essence, not a direct quote -

"I think once Homeland Security finishes chasing down the people tearing the tags off of mattresses and pillows they'll get to that whole copyright thing (Kaylor's concern about the $1.85 bonanza he created by trying to buy a PDF and then claim you were making money on something NO ONE ELSE HAS EVER EVEN ATTEMPTED TO BUY! He was manufacturing/creating a crime where there was none!!!)

And while HR person Bonne Mahler was excellent, she's no longer there and hasn't been for several months. Bonne - if you're reading this - hope you're doing well. You were right about Steve...

So Media General folks - feel free to send all the wonderful links to Media General stories, but this is about newsroom behavior. It's a fact. There were witnesses. I have one of the videos - the one posted to the web as part of the story about the panty dropping article. Yes - they posted a video of the bartender at the Purple Onion online to go with the panty dropping comment. Gee - is it still up? Don't know. Since they updated the website a lot of stuff has gone missing.

I have the emails where I complained to Steve Kaylor and Bonne - I've posted some of those. So - will you be good writers or will you too try to discredit the folks who have complained?

It seems to me that for a company that SAYS it's so intolerant of a hostile workplace it sure is tolerant. Maybe they mean they won't tolerate out-and-out beatings, assaults and non-consensual groping. Who knows. I'm still waiting for the apology.

1 comment:

Escapee said...

Coscia was a straight up fraud. I don't know what he said to get the job but I know for a fact that he did not have a college degree. He, instead, had a mere technical school degree from some place in Connecticut. I know he was a big University of Conn. fan so I wonder if he tried to make out that he attended that university.

In addition to driving without a license during his entire tenure as sports editor, he also made up quotes, wrote a column from a bar in Florida, and on one occasion went to a college basketball game under the guise of reporting and did not write a story. Supposedly he was finally yanked after running up the corporate card but he should have been fired after the DUIs and for general incompetence.

I complained in my exit interview that the relationship between Arnold and Coscia was toxic to the newsroom and sports staff morale but, of course, that fell on deaf ears.

I don't know why Arnold protected that guy because Coscia was such a sneaky worm.

Arnold probably did not stand up against the breast incident because Arnold loves big breasts. Case in point, he hired this reporter years ago who had no business writing and could barely string a sentence together BUT she had huge breasts. Arnold loved her. On multiple occasions, this reporter plagarized whole sections of Web sites. Arnold was told about this and nothing happened.

By the way, I can't believe Ann Austin is the HR person. Wow, she moved up from paycheck distributor to HR. That place really is doomed.