Why Was Blogging Journalist Llewellyn Kriel Fired?
South African Journalist Paul Jacobson, who blogs at The Blogumist, one of the blogs of the Johannesburg, South Africa-based The Times', notes in a December 19, 2007, post that, "A hot topic in the last few weeks was [journalist] Llewellyn Kriel's [November 29, 2007] dismissal from the Sowetan (a sister publication to The Times) after he blogged about morale at the Sowetan on Thought Leader, a group blog run by the Mail & Guardian (the competition).
"A debate has raged about whether he was fired simply because he blogged or because he actually divulged confidential information (the reason given for his dismissal)," Jacobson writes.
What this situation highlights is the strategic complexities of Media 2.0 as a set of publishing principles, and the risks corporates now face when every irritated employee could potentially have a voice on the web that will be indexed by Google in perpetuity. What it does is raise several important questions about the role of the journalist in the media company. On paper Kriel must have violated several confidentiality clauses in his contract if one ignores his argument that what he was saying was already on public record but, looking at things slightly differently, what Kriel said would have faded away had he been disciplined subtly and constructively. As always in these things, I suspect there is more to this than meets they eye but, nevertheless, Kriel will become a sort of martyr for the cause.
For more of Jacobson's December 19, 2007, post, see " Getting Fired for Blogging." Also see "Blogger of the Week: SA's first media blog casualty " and "Fired for blogging."