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Sinclair Broadcasting fired young reporter after cancer diagnosis

A 22-year-old reporter’s contract with Sinclair Broadcasting was abruptly terminated while she was undergoing treatment for bone cancer, according to a newspaper report.

Alex George, a reporter for Chattanooga TV station WTVC (Channel 9), announced to viewers earlier this year that she was taking some time off after doctors diagnosed her with a malignant primitive neuro-ectodermal tumor, a type of bone cancer.  She told viewers she would be going back home to Philadelphia and looked forward to returning to viewers once her treatment was over.

But during that treatment, WTVC’s owner Sinclair fired her, according to the Times Free Press newspaper — a shocking and unexpected move for a reporter who felt her job was more than secure.

“I was looking forward to going back, but they made a different decision,” George said. “I’m disappointed but have to focus on getting better.”

With the termination, disability payments that George relied on during the course of her treatment suddenly stopped. Sinclair said in a statement obtained by the Times Free Press that it had continued supporting George beyond what was legally required and was open to exploring the idea of offering her another job once she was fully healed and ready to return to work.

Times Free Press: Former Chattanooga reporter winning cancer battle after losing job

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).