Fishbowl’s source at CNN is fired

cnnn.jpgIt is with regret and surprise that FishbowlNY reports that our source at CNN has been fired, unfortunately for Fishbowl-related reasons. Tom Thomsen, a now-former CNN employee and director of a weekly performance (unrelated to mediabistro) in which I participate, told me that he was fired from CNN for the following reasons: speaking about the company to an outside source without authorization; revealing information about a meeting where executives were speaking to employees, not the general public; and granting an outside person access to the company for inappropriate reasons and sharing proprietary company information with that person.

I spoke to Gina LaRussa, Executive Director of Human Resources at CNN, who confirmed that Mr. Thomsen had been fired but that she was not at liberty to discuss it further.

As readers of Fishbowl may be aware, my CNN source was featured twice on Fishbowl: once with respect to my visit to CNN and once regarding CNN’s recent town hall meeting on “The State of the Company.”

For the record (and as I wrote on Fishbowl), I explicitly informed the security guards of my purpose while at CNN, signed in with identification, and did not gain entry to any part of the offices under false pretenses. Since I never heard from anyone at CNN regarding the posters before or after the incident, I assumed that it had not been a concern (particularly since following the publication of the post, Thomsen had requested two posters specifically on my behalf, which CNN provided)(NB the posters are what Thomsen said CNN referred to as “proprietary information”).

With respect to the information on the company meeting, I did not consider the information to be proprietary or confidential information or anything relating to trade secrets, which Thomsen echoed during our communications on the subject and subsequent to them.

As I mentioned above, I deeply regret this result, and am surprised at it considering that I was never contacted regarding any of my coverage and Thomsen never received any sort of warning regarding the Fishbowl coverage. I specifically discussed this with Thomsen precisely because we didn’t want to run afoul of Thomsen’s duties as an employee of CNN, and after serious consideration, neither of us thought that would be the case. Sadly, we were wrong. For the record, there was no malice intended toward CNN, just the desire to report on an influential newsgathering organization.

This decision as well as yesterday’s incident at Cond&#233 Nast clearly indicates that companies are sensitive to information leaked from within, and that you tip on company time and technology at your peril.

Related on FishbowlNY:

Those CNN rain slickers would be nice if only you could see the logo
CNN Hearts Fishbowl
CNN: State of the Company
CNN: The State of The Company, and how do we get a piece of that Jon Stewart?

Related on CNN:

Avoid Getting Fired for Blogging [CNN]