A Florida newspaper reporter resigned from his position after a Facebook post he wrote concerning Chick-fil-A’s “Appreciation Day” gained some traction.
On August 1st, Mark Krzos was one of several Fort Myers News-Press journalists reporting on the “Appreciation Day,” the coordinated “eat-in” organized by supporters of Chick-fil-A’s stand against same-sex marriage. According to the paper’s Executive Editor Terry Eberle, Krzos was feeding quotes to Michael Braun, who wrote the article for the publication.
At some point later that day,Krzos took to Facebook to express his own personal opinion on the event. As of this writing, the post and Krzos’s Facebook account have been deleted. The following is a transcript of what he said:
“I have never felt so alien in my own country as I did today while covering the restaurant’s supporters. The level of hatred, unfounded fear and misinformed people was astoundingly sad. I can’t even print some of the things people said...
“It was like broken records of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and a recitation of half-truths and outright lies.”
As previously mentioned, Krzos eventually deleted the comment and his Facebook page, though not before it gained traction thanks to several reshares.
Unsurprisingly, Krzos’s remarks ruffled the feathers of conservatives. One such individual was Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, who questioned on the site GetReligion.org whether Krzos’s views expressed on his personal page would cloud his journalistic integrity.
It turns out that Eberle, Krzos’s former boss, agrees with Hemingway. The Executive Editor gave the following statement to JimRomenesko.com:
“The comments made by reporter Mark Krzos on his personal Facebook page were completely inappropriate. They were done without the knowledge of The News-Press and violate our policies. When we became aware of the comments, we asked the reporter to remove them. We consider this a very serious matter and hurts our credibility and we will take strong and appropriate action.”
Shortly thereafter, Krzos resigned from his position at the News-Press after a meeting with Eberle.
Eberle told the Daily Dot that the inappropriateness of Krzos’s statement wasn’t its political message, but the fact that he openly talked about the assignment.
“What Mark said doesn’t matter, but he crossed the line when he talked about his assignment on his Facebook post,” he said. “It undermined his credibility, and in turn, the credibility of the paper.”
When asked whether the Fort Myers News-Press has a specific set of rules for what reporters can and cannot do on their own social media accounts, Eberle said that the guidelines were tenuous at best.
“We don’t really have any concrete guidelines. Some would be don’t embarrass your sources, don’t embarrass yourself, don’t embarrass the paper.”
In Krzos’s case, it appears he violated all three.
The Daily Dot was unable to reach Krzos for a comment.
Photo via West McGowan/Flickr