WaPo Suspended Its Own Reporter for Writing About the Paper

Michael Fleischhacker, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Via the Washingtonian:

The Washington Post suspended its media reporter Paul Farhi for five days without pay in March after he reported that the publication would take bylines and datelines off stories filed by staff in Russia. The move, Farhi reported, would counter censorship and threats against journalists that Russian President Vladimir Putin instituted after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

In a complaint filed in US District Court on Friday, the Washington Baltimore News Guild says managing editors Krissah Thompson and Tracy Grant (who has since left the publication) instituted the suspension. Thompson and Grant, the suit says, said that Farhi “jeopardized the safety of a colleague as well as the ability of The Washington Post to report in a foreign country” in what the Guild characterizes as “accurately reporting internal Post news in the course of his duties as a media reporter.”

The Post refused to address Farhi’s suspension in arbitration as the union’s contract requires, the action says. The newspaper told a union lawyer by email in August that because the company’s contract with the Guild expired June 30, it had no obligation to address the grievance.

The action says the paper also refused to go to arbitration over its June 9 dismissal of reporter Felicia Sonmez. The Guild says the expiration of the Post’s contract “does not relieve the Post from its contractual obligation to arbitrate grievances filed prior to expiration.” The publication and the Guild are currently renegotiating a new contract. The two sides have met three times, and a new contract is likely to take quite a while to negotiate. (The Washington Baltimore News Guild also represents Washingtonian’s editorial staff in its contract negotiations with management.)


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