Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATED: 'Washington Post' Staffer Fired for Profane Sports Blogging

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

UPDATED: 'Washington Post' Staffer Fired for Profane Sports Blogging

Article excerpt

A Washington Post staffer who had been blogging at a sports-themed Web site apparently lost his job after editors came across some profane-laden postings that also identified him as a Post scribe.

Michael Tunison, who blogged under the name "Christmas Ape" at the "Kissing Suzy Kolber" site, wrote on Wednesday that he had been fired for "bringing discredit to the paper."

Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. confirmed that Tunison no longer worked at the paper and had left his job on Wednesday, but would not specify if he resigned or was fired. "We don't discuss personnel matters, but we have standards for people's outside work," Downie told E&P. "You need to clear it with your editors here before and it should not be a conflict of interest."

Tunison, in an e-mail to E&P on Friday, stated:"There was no conflict of interest between my writing for Kissing Suzy Kolber and my work for The Washington Post. The blog is not a journalistic endeavor and it is not something I was paid for until I revealed my identity. It is a humor blog about the NFL, whereas my job for the paper was to cover local news in a suburban county outside Washington, D.C. It is beat that has nothing to do with a professional football league.

"I also find it troubling that I was summarily fired for engaging in something that is core to the spirit of The Washington Post: full disclosure. Even if editors had a problem with the language used in the blog, they should have been able to respect that my goal was not to defame The Post, but to be forthcoming with my readers. …

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