When Brian Nutting took a stand for quality journalism last week at Congressional Quarterly, I feared that my former (and favorite) boss would lose his job as a result. Sadly, he has.
Roll Call Group, the heartless and gutless new owner of CQ, reportedly fired Nutting because he wouldn’t apologize to his new masters for doing what journalists are supposed to do — ask tough questions and demand answers to them.
The decision to fire Brian is another blow to CQ’s quickly sinking reputation as a company that cares more about journalistic quality and integrity than profit.
Thanks, Brian, for helping mold me into the journalist I am. You did the old CQ we both knew and loved proud. And thanks for defending your colleagues.
You did the right thing last week by taking that stand and the right thing this week by not apologizing. The fact that you willingly put yourself in a position where you would not receive severance proves you to be a man of the kind of character that CQ needs. It’s a shame the new owners are so blinded by greed that they can’t see that.
You are, indeed, a journalist with guts. All of us who ever worked with you admire that.
Two other bits of information:
1) Before the layoffs were official, Brian offered to sacrifice his own job in a bid to save those of two of his reporters who recently had endured other layoffs. In other words, CQ’s leaders could have prevented this whole PR nightmare if it had taken Brian up on the offer and gotten his signature on a severance document with a non-disparagement clause. Instead, they chose to target two employees who were in worse positions than Brian to suffer layoffs.
2) Brian never expected his e-mail to get beyond the newsroom. While I think it’s a shame for any journalist, even one I admire, to be so naive about how news travels in the information age when we are this far into it, I’m not surprised to hear Brian call himself a Luddite. They are still a thriving species inside the elite newsrooms of Washington.
Filed under: Business and Friends and Media and People