"How Occupy Wall Street Cost Me My Job"

At Gawker, Brooklyn-based journalist Caitlin Curran explains how you could quickly go from being part of the downtrodden 99% to being part of the "no, really, unemployed and utterly fucked" contingent: your boss could see a photo of you holding up a sign at a protest and fire you the next day. Ms. Curran is the woman in the photo above, feature in two previous Boing Boing posts. As she explains, my post here was part of the story of how she lost her job over her participation in the Occupy Wall Street protests:

The next day, Boing Boing co-editor Xeni Jardin posted the photo as the site's Occupy Wall Street sign of the day, the post circulated around Tumblr, Friedersdorf himself saw it and wrote about it, as did Felix Salmon at Reuters, who called me "one of those protestors that photographers dream of" and the sign "true, and accurate, and touching, and grammatical, and far too long to be a slogan, and gloriously bereft of punctuation, and ending even more gloriously in a mildly archaic preposition." Beyond that, Salmon noted, the sign's internet notoriety showed that there was something about it that resonated with people. Which was really the whole point of why we made the sign, and of Friedersdorf's piece.

I thought all of this could be fodder for an interesting segment on The Takeaway—a morning news program co-produced by WNYC Radio and Public Radio International—for which I had been working as a freelance web producer roughly 20 hours per week for the past seven months. I pitched the idea to producers on the show, in an e-mail.

The next day, The Takeaway's director fired me over the phone, effective immediately. He was inconsolably angry, and said that I had violated every ethic of journalism, and that this should be a "teaching moment" for me in my career as a journalist. The segment I had pitched, of course, would not happen. Ironically, the following day Marketplace did pretty much the exact segment I thought would have been great on The Takeaway, with Kai Ryssdal discussing the sign and the Goldman Sachs deal it alluded to in terms that were far from neutral.

I hope that Ms. Curran is hired by a news organization with a spine, and soon. You can follow her on Twitter.

(thanks, Susannah Breslin)

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