Personal blog precipitates firing of CNN producer

tn_chez.jpg Chez Pazienza

The New York Times reports that CNN fired senior producer Chez Pazienza after he was told that he had violated a company policy by failing to get permission to do outside writing. Pazienza maintains a personal blog, DeusExMalcontent, and has apparently also contributed to the Huffington Post. CNN told the Times: ““CNN has a policy that says employees must first get permission to write for a non-CNN outlet.”

Panzienza, 38, is married. He and his wife are expecting a child in August. He told the Times he was not going to seek his job back and had not decided whether to hire a lawyer or what to do about the dismissal.

In a Feb. 18 post titled “Requium for a news career” Panzienza tells about how, at age 19, he used a live radio show at the University of Miami to read aloud the minutes of a meeting where his then-supervisors were trying to deal with “The Chez Situation.” He goes on to write:

“When I got into television, I did my best to bury my inner-revolutionary . . . Over the past several years though, something has changed. Drastically. And I’m not sure whether it’s me, or television news, or both . . .  the profession I once loved and felt honored to be a part of has lost its way.”

He goes on to describe how his whole attitude changed after he underwent an operation to remove a brain tumor and had time to start the blog and explore his own suppressed feelings. The Requium posting goes on to talk in detail about the firing conversation so do read it if you want those details but I was more interested in the ending, where Panzienza writes:

“All it takes is one person to stand up and say ‘fuck this.’ I truly hope so, because I’m finally doing just that. And I should’ve done it a long time ago.”

I hope he and his young family are ready to reinvent themselves. Meanwhile the Times included this parenthetical comment at the end of its article about his firing:

“(For those who wonder, The New York Times’s policy on ethics in journalism does have a section on blogs. While it states that blogs “present imaginative opportunities for personal expression and exciting new journalism,” it adds that blogs “also require cautions, magnified by the Web’s unlimited reach.” It elaborates that personal blog content should be “purely that: personal,” and that staff members should avoid blogging about topics they cover as journalists and avoid taking stands on divisive public issues, among other guidelines.)”