Black Press Ltd British Columbia chief operating officer Rick O’Connor circulated an internal e-mail to staff yesterday that assured them the firing of Victoria News editor Keith Norbury wasn’t linked to an advertiser complaint. He did acknowledge, however, that executives spoke with Norbury and the contentious article’s writer Brennan Clarke about “the impact a potential loss of advertising from the automotive sector” would have on the company.
In an August 29 blog entry, PublicEyeOnline blogger Sean Holman asked O’Connor if he thought it was appropriate for executives to talk to editorial staff about the impact their stories can have on advertising. His response: “Do you think that there is no link between advertising and editorial? I think there’s a huge difference between paid daily newspapers and free community newspapers” (like the Victoria News).
O’Connor’s e-mail is included at the end of the post. In an interview with the blog last week, Vancouver Island News Group president Mark Warner said Norbury was fired in part due to the complaint.