Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Paper Didn't Retaliate against Reporter: Jury; Pulitzer Winner Loses Second Round, Plans to Appeal

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Paper Didn't Retaliate against Reporter: Jury; Pulitzer Winner Loses Second Round, Plans to Appeal

Article excerpt

NEW MEXICO'S LARGEST daily newspaper didn't retaliate against a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist after she complained about alleged unfair treatment, a federal jury has decided.

The case involved a suit filed against the Albuquerque Journal and its parent company by former reporter Tamar Stieber, who worked in the paper's Santa Fe bureau from 1989 to 1994.

The jury, about after four hours of deliberation last month, sided with the Journal.

"We're very happy the jury ruled in favor of the Journal," said publisher Tom Lang. "We didn't see how it could come out any other way."

Ray Twohig, Stieber's attorney, said he would appeal.

Stieber contended company officials found ways to retaliate against her after she complained to editors about alleged unfair treatment and later filed civil rights lawsuits against the company in 1993. She was placed on probation for 60 days for erroneously reporting that prison inmate Michael Guzman had stabbed and killed two women. In fact one of them survived.

Stieber also received a letter of reprimand for making 71 long-distance phone calls to her attorney, running off 117 copies of articles for use in the lawsuit, and passing out staff phone lists and telling numerous callers that the phones were tapped.

Stieber didn't lose pay or time in either case, according to trial testimony. She resigned last October.

Stieber's underlying case of unequal treatment was dismissed earlier and was not an issue at the trial. Twohig said he would appeal both the retaliation issue and the allegations of discrimination that were thrown out earlier. …

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