Times Free Press Fires Editor Drew Johnson

Thursday, August 1, 2013
Drew Johnson
Drew Johnson

Chattanooga Times Free Press officials said Thursday that Free Press editor Drew Johnson has been fired "after placing a headline on an editorial outside of normal editing procedures."

The newspaper said, "Johnson’s headline, 'Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President: Your policies have harmed Chattanooga enough,' appeared on the Free Press page Tuesday, the day President Barack Obama visited the city.

"The headline was inappropriate for this newspaper. It was not the original headline approved for publication, and Johnson violated the normal editing process when he changed the headline. The newspaper’s decision to terminate Johnson had nothing to do with the content of the editorial, which criticized the president’s job creation ideas and Chattanooga’s Smart Grid. The Free Press page has often printed editorials critical of the president and his policies.

"The Chattanooga Times Free Press is unique in that it has two editorial pages, the conservative Free Press page and the liberal Times page. This newspaper places high value on expressions of divergent opinion, but will not permit violations of its standards."

Soon after his dismissal, Mr. Johnson sent out this tweet, "I just became the first person in the history of newspapers to be fired for writing a paper's most-read article."

He later added, "Getting fired for taking a stand is bad. Getting fired two weeks before your wedding is worse. Thanks for sticking by me."

He also wrote, "The policy I 'broke' did not exist when I 'broke' it. It was created after people complained about the headline & was applied retroactively. Any time the paper wanted to change the headline online (which is how most people read the editorial), they could've.

"We change headlines all the time at the last minute. I had a filler headline in that stunk and thought of that Johnny Paycheck song."

Mr. Johnson, 34, had been the replacement for Lee Anderson, who had a 70-year career with the newspaper.

He was the founder and first president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research, a free market think tank and watchdog organization based in Nashville.

He was with the newspaper for just over a year. 


Leaders Of Mayor’s Citizen Safety Coalition Condemn Killing Of Bianca Horton

In response to the murder of Bianca Horton, Bishop Kevin Adams and Dr. Charles Mitchell released the following statement: “Today there are four children without their mother. Bianca Horton, mother of four, was killed yesterday.  In a few weeks she was to testify in the shooting of her infant daughter.  This cycle of violence is unacceptable. "Bianca was standing ... (click for more)

Defense Says Witnesses Alcantara, Holloway Were Accomplices In LeCroy Murder; Prosecution Says Carmody Was “The Muscle” In LeCroy Murder

Defense attorney Lee Ortwein said Manny Alcantara and Eddie Holloway, witnesses for the state in the Patrick Carmody trial, were accomplices to the robbery and murder of 21-year- old Chance LeCroy on Sept. 9, 2010. Prosecutor Cameron Williams said Carmody was “the muscle” in the murder. “(Carmody) starts beating (LeCroy) when he’s asleep. That’s what the old ... (click for more)

Case Handled Like Any Other? - And Response

It is interesting that Chief Fletcher would deem the handling of the Mayor's encounter as typical or normal. Is the Chief asking the public to believe that all misdemeanor domestic violence arrests include a 4-hour taped interrogation, and delayed reporting after a visit to the Chief’s house. Of course, we believe that Chief Fletcher. April Eidson * * *  I ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The American Dream, 2016

On this, the week of commencement, junior high graduations, and achievement at every level is displayed, we stand with hope and wonder as the next wave of promising Americans gives our nation the reason we pray for our next tomorrow. On Monday, as Vice President Joe Biden addressed 950 cadets who would become 2nd Lieutenants by the end of the day at the United States Military ... (click for more)

Baylor Rolls Past St. Benedict In D-II Softball Opener

MURFREESBORO – The Baylor softball team had somewhat of a slow start here at McKnight Field No. 3 Wednesday morning as they began defense of their D-II state softball crown, but they finished on a strong note and that’s probably all that matters at this point. The Lady Red Raiders, improving to 35-4, needed just five innings to slide past St. Benedict as they scored at least ... (click for more)

Brentwood Academy Eliminates McCallie, 5-0, In DII-AA State Baseball

LEBANON, Tenn. – Corbin Brooksbank led off McCallie’s first inning Wednesday evening with a triple to left-center field against Brentwood Academy at Wilson Central High School. Considering the Blue Tornado had just lost about two hours earlier to Christian Brothers, in a replay of the 2015 semifinals, and the long gapper normally would have been a great morale boost. Unfortunately, ... (click for more)