“Then I said, ‘You’re probably right. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.’ And that’s the only quote she took from me.”
The article as published read:
“When asked if it was appropriate for a reporter to cover an issue they were politically involved in, Standiford said: ‘You’re probably right, I probably, maybe shouldn’t have even done that. But who knew it would be an issue?’”
Standiford has reported on the abortion topic in the past from both sides. She said that even though she is pro-life, her reporting on the issue has always been “balanced.”
“All the time that I covered it, I would interview those who were pro-choice, and even Planned Parenthood. My writing and storytelling was always very balanced,” she said.
“The article was an attack; an attack directly on me,” she added.
The day after the article came out, Standiford got news from her boss at KNOP-TV that she was being fired.
“He came in and handed me an envelope and said it would be my last day,” she said, adding that she recorded the entire conversation.
“I asked him to tell me exactly why I was being fired — and he said, word for word, ‘You’re being fired for practicing partisan politics.’”
Standiford told her boss in reply: “I didn’t think I was being political with that in my home church, sitting in the pews in my church.”
Fired for ‘political activity’
(Story continues below)
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According to the North Platte Bulletin, Standiford is well-known in the area for her live news coverage, having worked at the station for five years. While serving as KNOP-TV’s news director, she hired the station’s entire staff. Standiford, who is a mother of nine, was awarded a gold medal from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association for covering children with special needs.
In a statement to the North Platte Bulletin, the general manager of KNOP, Shannon Booth, explained Standiford’s termination.
“Our long-standing company policy encourages civic involvement among our employees, so long as such activities do not give the appearance of interfering with journalistic impartiality,” the statement read.
“In furtherance of that qualification, KNOP’s news personnel are not permitted, at any time and regardless of beliefs, to actively engage in any political activity for any candidate, party, or ballot initiative,” Booth said.
When CNA asked if Standiford was made aware of the policy regarding political activity at the time she was hired, Booth did not immediately respond.
For her part, Standiford said that she “didn’t ever remember” such a policy.