Union says Idaho Statesman’s top editor was fired over tweet, demands reinstatement

Posted at 4:30 PM, Jan 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-26 18:31:00-05

This article was written by Margaret Carmel of BoiseDev.

Idaho’s largest daily newspaper abruptly changed editorial leadership Monday.

As of Monday, the Statesman’s top editor, Christina Lords, is no longer leading the newsroom after two years at the paper’s helm. A story on the paper’s website, written by “Statesman Staff”named Assistant Editor Chadd Cripe as the interim editor of the paper before they hire a replacement for Lords.

The story did not cite a reason for Lords’ departure. Jeanne Segal, director for McClatchy’s public relations and communications, did not answer a question from BoiseDev about why Lords was let go.

“We are grateful to Christina Lords for her work and her commitment to local journalism,” she said.

Union sends letter

The Idaho News Guild, the unionrepresenting newsroom staff at the Idaho Statesman, sent an open letter to the paper’s parent company McClatchy blasting the move. Because Lords was a manager, she was not a member of the Idaho News Guild, but the group chose to speak up on her behalf out of support.

They said the letter was to protest the “abrupt and inappropriate” firing of Lords after she posted on Twitter last week about her frustration with the company for not supplying access to Microsoft Excel to a new reporter.

[Idaho Statesman sells Boise building, storage units planned]

Lords’ tweet, since deleted, read: “We’re now fighting with @mcclatchy IT to get excel added to an investigative reporter’s laptop. To review census data. At some point, this death by 1,000 cuts has to stop. Support your local newspapers, people. Get a digital subscription. This is genuinely what we are up against.”

“To fire an editor for advocating for resources and encouraging people to subscribe is a remarkably disappointing decision by McClatchy management,” the union’s letter to McClatchy said. “This is a devastating blow to the morale of our newsroom.”

Lords declined to comment Monday.

The letter from the union called on McClatchy to fully reinstate Lords and issue an apology from the company.

She joined the Statesman as the breaking news editor in 2017 and later served as the watchdog editor before being promoted to Editor in Chief in February 2018. Prior to working at the Statesman, she served as the Assistant Editor with the Idaho Press.