Pittsburgh Post-Gazette removes protest and police brutality stories from website following protests from union members


Screenshot taken from post-gazette.com

Late in the evening on June 5, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette removed two stories from its website that were shared earlier in the day on the paper’s social media platform. One story was written by P-G reporter Lauren Lee and summarized a march that snaked through Pittsburgh East End in honor of George Floyd, a Black man killed by Minneapolis police. The other was a story wrapping up statements from Pittsburgh City councilors for a discussion about police brutality and reforms.

This story was written by P-G reporter Ashley Murray who tweeted that she reported the issue to the newsroom at 8:40 p.m. and still hadn’t heard back as of 11:30 p.m.

As of print, both links are still dead. But the stories are still posted on the paper’s social media platforms.
click to enlarge Lauren Lee's story posted on Twitter - SCREENSHOT TAKEN FROM TWITTER

Screenshot taken from Twitter

Lauren Lee's story posted on Twitter

click to enlarge Ashley Murray's story posted on Twitter - SCREENSHOT TAKEN FROM TWITTER

Screenshot taken from Twitter

Ashley Murray's story posted on Twitter

These apparently removed stories come on the heels of a Twitter protest undertaken by members of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, the union that represents the 140 staffers at the P-G. Today, guild members and others reposted P-G staffer’s Alexis Johnson’s tweet word for word with the hashtag #IStandWithAlexis.

On Thursday, P-G management removed Johnson, who is Black, from reporting on George Floyd protests because of a tweet she sent on May 31 joking about the notorious messes typically left by fans outside of Kenny Chesney concerts, and comparing that to property damage done by looters in cities following recent protests.

Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh president and P-G reporter Mike Fuoco tweeted tonight, indicating there is some link with reporter’s support for Johnson and why the stories were pulled from the P-G website. Both Lee and Murrary participated in the Twitter protest and tweeted the hashtag #IStandWithAlexis.

A request for comment from P-G managing editor Karen Kane was not immediately returned. In an Associated Press story about the union’s Twitter protest, Kane wrote in an email that P-G’s editors cannot comment on personnel matters.

P-G photographer Michael Santiago noted on Twitter that the stories pulled also meant that staff photographers would not have their images shown on the paper’s website.

Furthermore, P-G copy editor and page designer Alyssa Brown says that protest stories would also not be printed in the print weekend edition or on newsstands on the morning of June 6. She called the move “censorship.”

There was coverage related to the protests still up on P-G’s site today. But it is a story focused on the criminal charges levied against the 20-year-old Shaler man who allegedly started initiating the damage of a police vehicle during the protest on May 30.