Denis Finley, former editor of the Burlington Free Press, was fired by Gannett on January 8 following a series of tweets regarding a proposal in the Vermont legislature to add a third gender option to driver’s licenses. The company determined Finley’s tweets “failed to adhere to the company’s code of conduct and ethics policy.”
According to Randy Lovely, an executive at the USA TODAY NETWORK, “We encourage our journalists to engage in a meaningful dialogue on social media, but it’s important that the conversation adhere to our overarching values of fairness, balance and objectivity,” Lovely said. Additionally, Burlington Free Press president Jim Fogler was quick to note, “Those opinions are his personal views and are not those of the staff or leadership of the Burlington Free Press.” In fact, Mr. Finley maintains (maintained?) a separate, professional Twitter account.
In an interview, Mr. Finley stated, “I really just wanted to ask the question: ‘Why is that awesome? And why is that necessary?’” he said. “That’s all, and I think any journalist would ask that question.”