Daily Archives: April 2, 2009

Gannett “Company Gal” Gets Fired in a Letter Left at Her Door: “And This is the Thanks I Got”

For 15 years, Marty Matthews has been a “company gal” at WTSP/Tampa, anchoring the main newscasts at the CBS station, and when times got tight, she did everything the company asked to help tighten belts and get through until things got better. She says, “I even chose to take a five-day furlough in the 1st quarter to help them save money and a be a good ‘company gal.’ And this is the thanks I got.”

The thanks came in a manila envelope left anonymously at Matthews’ front door. Inside, a letter from the station saying, essentially, you’re fired. WTSP management told the St. Pete Times’ Eric Deggans the letter was a last resort when efforts to reach Matthews in person failed. Seriously? Efforts to reach your 4 p.m. anchor “failed?” Do managers know where their own studios are located? The newsroom? These gutless people who can’t even find the courage to look a person in the eyes and tell them what’s happening… how did they fill the management ranks in this business?

WTSP/Tampa's Marty Matthews

WTSP/Tampa's Marty Matthews

Matthews called suggestions she was unreachable a lie: “They sure could find somebody to drive over to my house and leave a manila envelope here…why didn’t they find time to ask me while I was in the office?” Matthews told Eric Deggans, who reports she struggled to contain her anger.

Am I missing something? I get that times are as bad as they’ve ever been in this business. And I completely understand that decisions will be made and good people will lose their jobs. What I have trouble with is the “have their agent tell them” or “wait until they finish the newscast and have security escort them out–oh, and make sure you get their bio off the site ASAP.”

You’d think–in Matthews’ case–fifteen years of service to a company would require a little something better than a letter dropped at the door by a person who took off without so much as knocking. When did local television become junior high?

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