A newspaper reporter who was fired for a tweet in which she referred to the mayor of Dallas as “bruh” has criticized media coverage of her dismissal as focusing too much on her social media use.
In a column published on the website Medium last week, former Dallas Morning News journalist Meghan Mangrum admits she was dismissed from the news organization for her tweet, but said news articles about her dismissal should have focused on an unrelated collective bargaining effort by a local union.
Last month, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson complained that journalists weren’t covering the community’s recent drop in violent crime, accusing reporters of chasing salacious news stories because they grab the attention of readers and viewers.
“Bruh, national news is always going to chase the trend,” Mangrum responded on Twitter. “Cultivate relationships with quality local news partnerships.”
On February 14, Mangrum held a meeting with her editor and other newsroom executives, who complained that her tweet had racial undertones (Johnson is Black; Mangrum is not).
In an interview published by D Magazine, Mangrum denied her tweet had anything to do with race, and instead characterized her use of the word “bruh” as a mere form of Millennial speak.
The D Magazine article was widely franchised by other news outlets — including The Desk — which noted that her dismissal seemed to be a bit heavy-handed, considering Mangrum often used the word “bruh” in benign social media conversations on a wide variety of topics and with different types of people.
Last Thursday, Mangrum complained that news articles about her firing didn’t tough enough upon the collective bargaining efforts of the Dallas News Guild, which has filed a complaint about her termination and other issues.
“The attention around my tweet is in some ways taking away from these issues,” Mangrum wrote. “It also highlights why a contract outlining workers’ rights is so important. In a time when local media outlets are closing and journalists are being laid off, there are very important issues being missed by that lack of coverage. That’s what people should be alarmed about.”
Mangrum didn’t thank the many people who voiced support for her work or called for her reinstatement. Instead, she wrote that journalists like her aren’t able to tell stories when they “aren’t supported, when they aren’t at the table to help make decisions, when they are driven out of the newsroom.”
Mangrum characterized the ongoing issue between the Dallas News Guild and newsroom executives as “time wasted,” and said an agreement should be reached that gives journalists “fair pay and respect they deserve could be spent covering important issues.”
There’s some irony in a reporter criticizing news coverage of her firing as missing the mark, when her dismissal — by her own admission — was due to a social media post in which she replied to similar criticism of perceived media misgivings. In any case, if she gets her wish and the Dallas News Guild does reach a fair agreement for journalists at the newspaper, Mangrum — who is still unemployed — probably won’t benefit from it.