The Guild questions RiShawn Biddle's treatment

Dateline: Tue 06 Nov 2007

"From: Indy NewsGuild70

Sent: Nov 5, 2007 10:19 PM


Subject: E-Inkling, Nov 5, 2007 ** From Indy News Guild 70 **

You are all aware of the controversy over RiShawn Biddle's recent blog and his termination as an employee here.

We just want you to know that The Guild is committed to due process and making sure that RiShawn was not improperly discharged. We have been involved in collecting facts related to this matter, and soon the Guild officers will meet to decide on what action we will take.

For now, we are trying to determine if there is any basis for saying RiShawn was insubordinate or the equivalent (the original note from

Dennis said he did not follow a directive). Insubordination is just cause for dismissal.

We are also deeply concerned about the very public manner in which RiShawn was hung out to dry - 'guilty' or not. While I haven't seen that his name was mentioned by management in public, he was uniquely identified among his peers, so he was identified. This affects his future employment prospects.

Further, a time bomb with all these unedited blogs that media outlets host has finally gone off in Indianapolis. Bloggers are given quite a

bit of license to post what they want, and to post directly to the web. But when something goes wrong, they're told, in effect, 'Oh, no, you

can't do that.' It's like an ex post facto law. You're constantly at risk because you don't know what you can and cannot do.

We will have more to report in the coming days.

For the Guild,

Abe Aamidor, President"

The Guild's actions deserve our support and applause. RiShawn was made an example of so that Ryerson could save face. Who really is responsible for what is put in the paper? Obviously, the executive editor and/or his subordinates. Biddle was encouraged to be bold and edgy; his Libertarian views often went against the grain. Yet he was fired for doing what Star management, in effect, wanted him to do -- be provocative.

I so agree with the Guild's position. Several people not connected with the newspaper have expressed concern that Ryerson violated every ethical law of human resource protocol by publicly condemning RiShawn Biddle. And now the Guild seems to be saying the same thing. It was enough that Biddle was dismissed; Ryerson went on to humiliate him at a public political meeting. There is plenty of shame to go around...


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