Freedom Communications Journalist's Freedom to Communicate Challenged in Facebook Flap

The announced sale of the Orange County Register understandably caused ripples in the Grand Avenue newsroom as well as others in the Freedom Communications fold that Aaron Kushner's group is acquiring from the Irvine media company. But when one ripple washed onto a Freedom journalist's personal Facebook page, all hell broke loose.

Here is what Barrett Tryon of the Colorado Springs Gazette posted on his Facebook wall:

Carmen Boles, the Gazette's director of content, informed Tryon Tuesday afternoon that his Facebook wall post violates Freedom's social media policy. But instead of taking it down, the Gazette employee of two months explained the post was on his personal Facebook page and he would not be taking it down.

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Tryon was then told the matter would be handled by corporate human relations and, though he suspected that was code for a looming firing, he still refused to remove the post. That led to emails from Boles wondering why he thought it was OK to post the item in the first place. Tryon emailed back he would take his chances with HR instead of answering.

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At last word, the “multimedia journalist” had been suspended.

The flap was picked up by media-trade observer Jim Romenesco. Something pointed out by commenters to Romenesco's item and Tryon's Facebook page are best encapsulated in Steve Masters' response from Austin, Texas: “Freedom Communications: Home of neither.”

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