Sunday, December 2, 2007

Farewell Goes Awry 2nd UPDATE

It's confirmed--it's the same Cliff Redding who worked at Newsday, the Sun in Baltimore, the New York Daily News, among other places.

Firing for a mistake seems pretty severe.
Does anyone know--is this Cliff Redding from New York?
Apparently not Well, maybe, we still don't know..
But at any rate, while we try to figure this out, it's a reminder that bad things happen when people are having fun and get too close to the publication machine. It's not "More Mush From the Wimp" but it still cost someone his job.

From Craig Smith's blog:
Head Rolls In News-Press Web Mix-Up

It figured there would be a price to pay for the mix up that put an ersatz farewell message into the opening paragraphs of Dr. Laura's Sunday column that appeared on the News-Press website at the beginning of the week. The only question was, who would pay the price?

We now have an answer. Cliff Redding, who had been interim chief of the copy desk ever since Charles Bucher left the paper, has been fired as a result of the incident.

Described as a hard and dedicated worker who spent "eight days a week" working at his job on the paper, Redding's attempt to maintain a long-time newsroom custom, giving co-workers who are leaving a mock-up of a newspaper page, has gotten him canned.

The fake intro to the Dr. Laura column was part of a mock-page printed out and presented to Lara Milton, the departing copy editor, as a going-away memento.

It's a newspaper tradition; you make up a newspaper page (usually page one) with fictitious stories making fun of the departing employee.

So for Lara Milton, someone did a fictitious "Dr. Lara" column with Milton's photo in place of Dr. Laura's. The tone of it was meant to be a parody of Dr. Laura's writing style.

But what someone apparently didn't realize is that if you then use the same text file for the real Dr. Laura column, you have to delete all the mock material; any text left in the file will end up on the website, even that part is separated from what is "flowed" onto the real newspaper page. It was a total accident that it ended up on the Web.

Redding had been with the News-Press for about a year having come here from Norfolk, Virginia where he worked for the Virginia Pilot.

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