Controversy Costs Cobler, Colorado Editor, Job at Poynter

By: E&P Staff

Former Greeley (Colo.) Tribune Editor Chris Cobler won’t be helping to run the Poynter Institute’s Web site, after all.

Last week, the Greeley paper said it would stop copying stories and running them with an Associated Press credit line, a practice Tribune managers said began under Cobler.

Bill Mitchell, Poynter?s online editor, said in a memo to staffers on Thursday that he wasn’t yet satisfied ?that we have a clear picture of what Chris’s role may or may not have been.?

Colber has denied he ordered anyone to copy stories and use the AP logo.

Mitchell’s memo follows.
We’ve come to the mutual conclusion with Chris Cobler that he should not take up his position as managing editor of Poynter Online.

Since word of the improper usage of AP material by the Greeley Tribune first came to our attention last week, we have done our best to make sense of the conflicting reports about just what happened. We have not been able to satisfy ourselves that we have a clear picture of what Chris’s role may or may not have been.

In the course of interviewing many of his current and former colleagues and competitors over the last several days, we heard much that confirmed our initial judgment of Chris as an extraordinarily talented and accomplished journalist well suited for a leadership position at Poynter. At the same time, Chris agrees that our inability to resolve doubts that have arisen would make it difficult, if not impossible, for him to succeed in the job.

We appreciate the concern that Chris has expressed that his hiring not call into question the ideals that Poynter strives to reflect.

Because we found ourselves in the unusual circumstance of dealing with questions raised publicly about someone we had already hired but who had not yet reported for work, it’s important that we be as forthcoming as appropriate about how we’ve resolved the situation. We’ve tried to do that above, and will not be making any comments beyond this statement. The Institute has a longstanding policy and practice of not discussing personnel matters.

We wish the best for Chris and his family.

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