Editor Sneaks ‘F-You’ Into Paper By Disguising It As Syndicated Column

Lee Morris was sick of how his out-of-state bosses were handling his paper.

Morris, until very recently the managing editor of the Valley City (N.D.) Times-Record, decided to tell them—and readers—exactly that.

But because he was sure a direct challenge would be spotted and removed before it made it into print, he sneaked his concerns and contempt into the paper with syndicated columnist Gene Lyons’ byline and the headline “An American pastime and politics.”

According to Romenesko….the stunt worked.

Morris then was called into the office manager’s office, and he resigned.

If the letter’s accusations are true, Morris had a decent gripe:

“[Corporate publisher] Leonard [Martin]’s policies are different. He emphasizes more news on more items, spreading our thin resources even thinner. (We only have two full-time reporters.) For instance, he wants more coverage on events such as Chamber of Commerce luncheons and ribbon-cutting ceremonies, items about which Nikki encouraged groups to submit information so we could better use our limited resources to report on issues and events that regular people can’t easily ‘submit.’…he does not understand how relevant this paper has become reporting in-depth on a variety of items. Already, he’s slashed your access to this newspaper’s Opinion Page and banned ‘criticism of the city.’ What he wants is a newsletter, not a newspaper.”