Tara Henley a writer and broadcaster most notably with the CBC has penned: “Why I resigned from the CBC and went to Substack. Speaking freely.”
This is a fascinating perspective; obviously freedom is far more valuable than acceptance.
Getting upset because someone is “abusing” free speech is silly; that’s like freaking out over self-driving car accidents. That’s naturally going to happen: that’s the uncomfortable process. (It’s also extreme thinking…like buying a gun to protect your loved ones from a home invasion. You can just get dog or set up an alarm system if protection was the legit issue.)
In April 2021 Paul Pierce was fired from ESPN; he would no longer be a regular on The Jump. He talked to SI about his frustrating TV experience revealing:
“There’s a lot of stuff over there that you can’t say. And you have to talk about LeBron all the time.” (Ugh I know…some of them on ESPN even refer to him as King. I understand how rating economics work especially for ESPN I just don’t agree with it.)
I get it. I can understand his frustration or similarly a journalist’s frustration with an arduous institution like the CBC which echoes Paul Pierce’s comments.
(How do you balance the classic “that’s not what we do?” with the shifting standards of the internet? I’m not even talking about clickbait; just integrity which is rooted in knowing who you are and what your strengths are.)
So Tara Henley like many other journalists has identified a benefiting outlet that facilitates her freedom; she’s now “free” to pursue different stories; elevate unique voices and have fun. Okay then. Let’s see where all this goes. Without the backing of a large organization her work will rise and fall on timeless principles such as quality and sound journalism.
If you find Tara’s response inspiring then know she isn’t alone…3 fresh folks worth following who mirror her journey are: Ethan Strauss left The Athletic, Bari Weiss left the NY Times and “after a decade as a Forbes senior editor, Zack O’Malley Greenburg now writes exclusively at Substack, where he’s serializing his fifth book We Are All Musicians Now.”
This is an encouraging trend. How will the institutions and news organizations respond? Will they evolve or pimp out clickbait? It’s possible some institutions don’t view any of these defections as feedback.
There’s always the goofy white guy who thinks this isn’t an issue; that it’s all overblown hype (thankfully he’s not as terrible as the goofy white guy who believes people only advocate for free speech so individuals can be politically incorrect. “You just want to be racist!” That guy often makes me laugh…his world like his thinking is so insular.).
Bottom Line? This trend is fantastic. The writers flourish with intellectual freedom and we get quality writing.
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.