Christina Lords has gone to bat for the newsroom staff of the Idaho Statesman before. The paper no longer has an office, making it difficult to receive and distribute personal protection equipment during the pandemic. So the editor recently drove around Boise to hand out N95 masks to employees. The staff wasn't surprised when Lords complained last week on Twitter, the Washington Post reports, that a new reporter had been denied access to Microsoft Excel by the Statesman's parent company. "Support your local newspapers, people," Lords posted. "Get a digital subscription. This is genuinely what we are up against." On Monday, McClatchy, which owns the Statesman, fired her. Lords, who held the job for two years, said she was dismissed for violating the paper's social media policy. The tweet has since been deleted.
McClatchy told the Post that "the full facts of the situation are not accurately represented on social media." The reporter later did receive access to the software program, though McClatchy had dropped Microsoft Office subscriptions for new employees. Among the advocates for Lord is the Idaho News Guild, which has demanded the firing be rescinded. "We always knew she was going to fight for us if we needed anything," said a newsroom steward. "When that’s what gets her fired, it’s a pretty chilling message to send to your employees." Another reporter said: "That’s the thing about Christina. She will advocate for her reporters." An interim editor has been named, per the Statesman, and a search is beginning for a permanent replacement. Lords was back on Twitter on Monday, per KTVB. "I'll start this day like I started Friday, and like I'll start tomorrow and the day after that: Subscribe to the Idaho Statesman," she posted, adding: "I'm a subscriber. That will never, ever change." (Read more Idaho Statesman stories.)