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. 



Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALMONTE, SALUD CANCINO  4090 AUBURN HILLS DRIVE OOLTEWAH, 37363  Age at Arrest: 37 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY (CONDUCT INVOLV.MERCHANDISE) UND --- BAILEY, SHERRY ELIZABETH  8421 CAN RD SODDY DAISY, 37379  Age at Arrest: 57 years old Arresting Agency: ... (click for more)

Vacant Home Damaged By Fire Saturday Morning

Chattanooga Fire Department received a call Saturday morning at 2002 E. 34th Street, for smoke showing from windows at a residence. Firefighters from Q9 arrived to find smoke showing from the front of a vacant, single-family dwelling. The fire was quickly attacked and extinguished within 10 minutes , with additional aid from four fire companies. Captain Chris ... (click for more)

Brown V. Board (1954) 64 Years Late: Our Schools At A Crossroads

May 17, 1954 is a date forever etched upon the annals of American history because on that pivotal day the Supreme Court would affirm in the decision of Brown v. Board (1954). “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This ruling overturned the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Same Family Tree

When it was learned the UnifiEd Foundation was a left-wing crowd of political organizers rather than a group with the sole intent of bettering public education in Hamilton County, several other liberal groups fell under scrutiny and it is uncanny how many of the same few people are intertwined in a county of 360,000 people. Or, as one critic succinctly said, “They are all from ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Marches To State Softball Tourney With 7-2 Win Over Lincoln County

(Story Ooltewah is going to state. Again. Powered by Kayla Boseman’s one-hit, 12-strikeout performance in the circle and a combined 8-for-10, three-run and two-RBI offensive punch from Boseman, Ally Chernak and Mabry Carpenter, the Lady Owls whipped visiting Lincoln County, 7-2, Saturday afternoon to win the Class 3A sectional for their third trip to the state softball ... (click for more)

Lookout Valley Falls Just Short Of State Tournament

  Season endings are always painful, but much like a burn injury, there are degrees of pain. The Lookout Valley Jackets saw a monster season come to a close Saturday one step shy of a Class A state tournament berth, falling 7-4 to a good University High School out of Johnson City in a Class A Sectional battle.   The immediate aftermath cut deep into ... (click for more)