Editor and Publisher, one of the most respected publications in all of journalism, is examining the firing of Kansas City Star columnist Steve Penn, sources have told Bottom Line Communications exclusively.
Allan Wolper, an award-winning journalist and professor at Rutgers University and radio host, is writing a piece about the Penn situation for his column, “Ethics Corner,” scheduled to appear in September.
Was Penn’s firing justified? There are many aspects of the story Wolper will be analyzing.
Penn, who joined the Star in 1980, was fired last July for using material from press releases in his columns. Editors said they found repurposed prose in “more than a dozen examples in Penn’s columns dating back to 2008.”
In July Penn filed suit against McClatchy Newspapers, the Star’s owner, asking for $25,000 plus punitive damages.
In his complaint, Penn, who joined the paper in 1980, says “the widespread practice in journalism is to treat such releases as having been voluntarily released by their authors into the flow of news with the intention that the release will be reprinted or republished, and preferably with no or minimal editing.”
Wolper has won over 50 awards, including, television’s prestigious Alfred I. duPont/Columbia University Award – the Pulitzer Prize of broadcast news. He won the National Headliner Award for his radio commentaries, and has been honored by The Medill Graduate School of Journalism at Northwestern University, The Pennsylvania State University, the New York Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Club for his ethics columns in Editor and Publisher Magazine.