Matthew Keys, the former web producer for a Tribune Company-owned television station that was recently charged with providing Anonymous with log-in credentials for a computer server belonging to the company, has been fired from his job as a social media editor for Reuters.
Keys was suspended from his job following the aforementioned indictment, but still used his Twitter account to follow up on last week’s bombings in Boston and to tweet information gleaned from the emergency scanner traffic about the police man hunt for the suspects.
According to the talk he had with an editorial manager at Reuters and a representative of Thomson Reuters human resources, the reason behind the firing was the fact that he didn’t stop tweeting that information immediately after the Boston Police Department asked news organizations to stop doing it, and also that he identified himself as a Reuters journalist on his Twitter account.
“I’ve stated before I was unaware of several media reports sourcing law enforcement regarding scanner traffic. As soon as I learned about the reports, I erred on the side of caution and stopped tweeting information heard over the scanner,” Keys claims. He also points out that identifying himself as a Reuters journalist was expected at all times by the company and the requirement is defined in Reuters’ Twitter Guidelines.
“While my suspension was related to the indictment, it’s unclear if my firing had anything to do with it. The company mentioned the suspension several times, but they did not mention the case nor did they mention the indictment. Still, one has to wonder if they are connected. A company doesn’t typically clear off your desk (as was reported by Reuters) if they have plans to let you return to work,” he concluded, pointing out that the Tribune Company is one of Reuters’ largest media clients.
“Our contract with Thomson Reuters prohibits management from dismissing anyone without just and sufficient cause. We don’t believe the company has the required justification here. At this point, we intend to vigorously defend Matthew Keys as we would any other hard-working member of the Newspaper Guild of New York who had been fired without cause,” Peter Szekely, Secretary-Treasurer of the Newspaper Guild of New York, commented the news.