News Media Guild members are asking colleagues to sign a petition protesting the dismissals of Associated Press journalists who were involved in the retracted story about Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.
“It was only a matter of time before the severe under-staffing of AP bureaus across the country and the unrealistic demands put upon them combined to create a high-profile error,” the petition says. “And when it did, AP management grossly overreacted.”
The petition asks AP bosses to “rescind all three firings and begin to properly staff AP bureaus and give your managers, your reporters and your editors the resources they need to maintain AP’s standards of quality journalism.”
The petition is after the jump.
To: [AP retirees]
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:49:20 -0400
Subject: AP fires staff members in draconian reaction
AP’s draconian firing of two AP staffers has prompted News Media Guild members to start this petition against the dismissals.
Please read it over and to sign the petition, forward your name to firstname.lastname@example.org
NMG Retiree Coordinator
Sent: 10/22/2013 12:15:06 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: [nmg-ap-bargaining] this is the petition
Below is the petition. Let Barbara Rodriguez know if you will add your name to it: email@example.com
If we get enough names quickly, I will hand over to the AP at bargaining Wednesday.
It was only a matter of time before the severe under-staffing of AP bureaus across the country and the unrealistic demands put upon them combined to create a high-profile error. And when it did, AP management grossly overreacted.
Three highly respected, dedicated employees have been fired for doing the best jobs they could in impossible circumstances that they had no hand in creating.
The firings are fundamentally unfair and grossly out of proportion to how the AP has handled other mistakes. We won’t list them here because we don’t want to embarrass other AP staffers, but we can all list several recent errors.
These firings appear to be aimed at driving fear into the hearts of reporters who are under tremendous pressure to compete vigorously with much more robustly staffed competitors.
Our standards have not changed in all these years: Honest errors are just that, and the people who make them own up, move on and never repeat them.
The mistaken report about Terry McAuliffe was not plagiarism, fabrication or any other mortal journalistic sin. It was an honest and understandable error, particularly given that McAuliffe had acknowledged earlier in the day that he was the “T.M.” referred to in court documents.
Every News Media Guild-covered staffer wants to make AP successful. When we occasionally make a mistake, no one is harder on us than we are on ourselves.
Until this week. We are mortified by the publicity surrounding AP’s overreaction to this mistake.
We respectfully request that you rescind all three firings and begin to properly staff AP bureaus and give your managers, your reporters and your editors the resources they need to maintain AP’s standards of quality journalism.