Blogger loses day job with CNN over blogging

Chez PazienzaLet’s file this one under unreal.

Chez Pazienza, a producer at CNN assigned to American Morning, was unceremoniously fired from his job today — without severance — over the content of his popular and edgy blog, Deus Ex Malcontent (warning: adult language). He had worked for CNN for four years, beginning as a Senior Producer in Atlanta. Chez is a member of my tribe and a friend, and I’m not happy about this turn of events.

According to Chez, he was terminated for violating network policy by not running what he was writing through their vetting system. So he was fired not for blogging but for the content of his blog. “It’s not that I’ve been writing,” he wrote in an email. “It’s WHAT I’ve been writing.” That may be the official decision, but the truth is he was fired because he had the balls to write about the industry without telling CNN. I would add that there is no mention of his connection to the network on his site, and as a producer, it’s hard to justify the notion that he’s in any way a public figure or publicly connected with the company.

What Chez Pazienza is is a damned fine writer and an even better observer and commentator on life. So spot on is the guy that he’s been “discovered” by sites like Fark, Pajiba and the Huffington Post, where he was recently brought on as a guest commentator. The guy is a brilliant new media writer, and CNN’s position is that it’s in their best interests to fire the guy. Go figure. What they should have done is find a place for that sensational talent.

Chez told me he knew that this day was possible, because he was determined to be true to himself, his history, his observations and his craft. Frankly, our industry needs more people like this and a few less of the people who fired him. What’s WRONG with us?

I feel bad for Chez, but I think this will turn out to be a blessing. I know that’s hard for him to see, because he and his wife are alone now in New York with a baby on the way and with only Jayne providing income. This is one extremely talented, albeit angry man, and I can hear the sound of doors opening elsewhere.

Comments

  1. with any luck this will get the same amount of attention as your camera buying experience at comp usa.

    odd bunch over there at cnn.

  2. Right. We need a Digg blitz, although it won’t change anything. I’m always amazed when media companies — those who benefit from the freedoms of the First Amendment — demonstrate how fearful they are of the thing. I mean, I know and understand that they would be unhappy, but they completely miss the point that this guy’s popularity had nothing to do with CNN. You’d think they’d look at that and say, “Hmmmm.”

  3. Can’t have it both ways. As long as the guy’s a line item, there’s accountability. If I was running a company, and found out an employee was writing negatively about us and our work, not sure I’d want him working for us, either.

  4. I agree with responder Ben – CNN has the right to fire him. Chaz himself knew it was coming and kept up his blog anyway. As for finding a place for his talent, he still has his blog, which apparently is garnering him lots of attention and opportunities, and he didn’t like CNN anyway, so I don’t see the down side.

  5. Guys, I’m not saying CNN didn’t have a “right” to fire Chez. That’s a given. And I’ll admit I may be a little too “involved” to make any sense, because I really like his whole body of work. Look, media companies are in a world of hurt today. We’ve become a parody of ourselves, and people who point this out are getting attention, because the people formerly known as the audience are nodding their heads in agreement.

  6. errr, i’m hangin’ with terry on this one.

    i read a little of what the fella wrote and i find it to be fine in the online world.

    the problem with cnn and every other mainstream outlet is they want to have it both ways- they want it all laundered before it hits the streets. not gonna happen even if they fire everyone.

    the “accountability” the guy above mentioned is/was there- he could have done it anonymously without his picture plastered all over the place.

  7. This article hit home with me because about a month ago, I got fired from my job under very similar circumstances. The primary difference is that I wasn’t doing anything to discredit or write negatively about the organization I was working for. It was a non-profit religious organization, and I made a blog post about some theological questions I had. Two or three of the questions were related to the doctrinal statement of the organization, and as it turns out, the founder of the organization didn’t want employees asking questions about these areas of theology. Though this was not written in the employee policy manual anywhere, he still fired me.

    The ironic thing is that I hadn’t stopped believing any of the points on the statement–I was ready to sign it in blood. I got fired because I was investigating certain questions which were related to the statement. The lesson I learned is that in some religious organizations, research will get you fired.

    So….I’m on the job hunt. Unlike Chez, I’m not well-known and can’t easily find a job. Anybody hiring? Ha ha.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Here we go again. Terry Heaton reports on the dismissal of Chez Pazienza, a producer at CNN of four years, over the content of his blog, Deus Ex Malcontent. […]

  2. […] Skørt. Via JD Lasica finder jeg Terry Heatons blogindlæg om, at CNN har fyret en medarbejder. Ã…rsagen: Han bloggede. […]

  3. […] Source: Terry Heaton, via TPM […]

  4. […] Pazienza, a producer at American Morning, was dismissed without severance for blogging on his personal site. The network has a policy that requires staffers to get clearance for anything they post online; Pazienza didn’t get that clearance. […]

  5. […] Via PoMoBlog Click Click…the world revolves These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

  6. […] CNN has fired a producer of the failed CNN morning show American Morning, Chez Pazienza. Chez’s problem was blogging without his boss’ permission, in that he had to run each of his posts by them for their okay. (On his blog, Deus ex Malcontent, he advertised himself as a CNN employee. […]

  7. […] Provarci. Provare a parlare di Fouad. 2 mesi sono tanti. Se ne parla. Poco pero’. Nel mio piccolo ho scritto tanto, ma con effetti minimi. Provero’ ancora comunque. Pazienza. Come il blogger della CNN licenziato. Per quello che ha scritto sul suo blog. Intanto loro faranno il grassroot journalism su iReport.  Peccato, per i pallini gialli che identificano univocamente la stampante. Peccato, per il teatro dell’assurdo che è la sicurezza (?) nei cieli. Peccato ed attenzione alle immagini on line, degradate o meno. Sun continua ad acquisire aziende molto interessanti: dopo MySQL e’ la volta di Innotek, quelli di VirtualBox. […]

  8. […] That’s enough to pique interest. According to “Terry’s PoMo Blog” — which seems to be an in-house blog for TV industry company “Audience Research and Development, LLC” — CNN didn’t like what the CNN producer was reporting about the industry: […]

  9. […] Say that a blogger gets fired from his day job for blogging.  (Recent high profile media examples here and here.)  It is a common enough tale to become almost a cliche. […]

  10. […] But it’s a great post so here. Say that a blogger gets fired from his or her day job for blogging. (Recent high profile media examples here and here.) It is a common enough tale to become almost a cliche. […]

  11. […] My boss reads my blog, and knowing this has caused me to become frightened.  I’m afraid that I may write something that could cause me to lose my job.  I mean, being fired because of your blog content is not quite unheard of. […]

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