As we covered here on Thursday, Tony Grossi has been reassigned off the Browns beat after his accidental Twitter jab at Browns’ owner Randy Lerner. There has been a large outcry on both sides, from fans who felt Grossi had lost his objectivity long ago to staunch support from fellow national writers and local radio personalities who feel Grossi was unfairly punished. This morning, we finally hear The Plain Dealer’s reader representative, Ted Diadiun, weigh in on why the Grossi reassignment was unfortunate but necessary. This excerpt drives home the two main reasons why the PD felt this move had to be made.
“‘If in your most private moments you feel like the leader of the institution you cover is pathetic, that raises questions about how fair you can be,’ she [PD Editor Debra Adams Simmons] said. ‘And once those opinions become public, it becomes a bigger problem. There’s the potential for readers to question the objectivity of everything you write.’
An important point to make is that there is a difference between columnists and reporters at a newspaper.
‘If it had been a columnist who wrote that, we might cringe, but that role is different,’ said Adams Simmons. ‘They’re paid to offer up opinions, however prickly. But we’re not asking them to go out and cover a team in a fair and balanced and objective way, like we are with a reporter.'”
Once again, full disclosure, WFNY has a partnership with Cleveland.com, The Plain Dealer’s internet home. Read the rest of the response from Diadiun here.