Dotcom Journalists


Case studies in new ethical challenges in online journalism

Fired for personal blogging

By Joy Bacon, Dotcom Journalists

Chez Pazienza has been working in television news and production for the past 16 years. His has produced and managed daily content for WSVN and WTVJ in Miami, KCBS, KNBC and KCAL in Los Angeles, and MSNBC. His earned two Emmy’s for his work in Los Angeles, and has also received a Golden Mic award. In January of 2004, Pazienza joined CNN’s staff. He started out doing general work and assignments for the company’s Atlanta, Georgia office. From Atlanta, he moved to New York and worked on “CNN Daybreak.” He then moved on to become a senior produce on “American Morning.”

In May 2006, Pazienza began a blog titled “Deus Ex Malcontent: Making a Mockery of Mockery.” He told the New York Times that he started the blog as a way to keep his mind occupied during the several months he was on medical leave from CNN after an operation that removed a brain tumor. The content includes entries similar to a personal journal, including entries about recovering from surgery as well as past relationships. The blog also explores thoughts about mass media and culture, and he includes links to other sites, including some of his favorite music videos. Many descriptions of the blog cite it as highly opinionated and clearly having been written from a liberal bias. The blog does not identify Pazienza as being in any way affiliated with CNN, although his self description does identify him as working in television and as having won his Emmy’s and Golden Mic award. He said he also never wrote about issues or topics that related to his work at CNN. The blog started to gain attention from other sites that carried related content, as well as by a news aggregate site. Later, Pazienza was also recruited as a blogger for the Huffington Post.

In mid-February of 2008, Pazienza’s boss at CNN, Ed Litvak, told him the company had found Pazienza’s posts, written without CNN’s approval. Shortly afterward, on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, Pazienza was fired from CNN. He announced the termination on his blog. He claims the dismissal was because CNN found his blog and its contents to violate the news outlet’s standards for journalists. Throughout his career at CNN, Pazienza did not receive negative feedback about his ethical decisions on the job, nor about his overall performance. Pazienza said his work for the Huffington Post was not mentioned in conjunction with his dismissal. CNN also claimed at the time that it did not know of any other CNN employees who maintained blogs linked to a specific individual. Litvak and the Human Resources representative cited CNN’s policy at the time that all writing published with an organization unaffiliated with CNN had to be cleared through the network’s standards and practices department. The letter explaining the official grounds for the dismissal cited the previous reasoning, as well as that the nature of what Pazienza was writing for his blog was questionable by CNN. CNN spokeswoman Barbara Levin in various media interviews said she could not comment on personnel matters, but did restate CNN’s policy about writing outside of the organization’s affiliations.

Since his dismissal, Pazienza has continued to maintain his blog, as well as posts for the Huffington Post. On August 1, 2008, he posted an entry on “Deus Ex Malcontent” that included CNN’s revised policy regarding “personal writings online.” In 2008 he also published a memoir titled Dead Star Twilight. He currently lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. His current profile on “Deus Ex Malcontent” describes him as a writer and ex-TV producer.


Related links

U.S. News and World Report: 5 ways your computer could get you fired at work

Romenesko, from the Poynter Institute: CNN producer claims he was fired for blogging


Works cited

-Chan, Sewell. (2008). CNN producer says he was fired for blogging. The New York Times, City Room blog. Retrieved from

-Huffington Post. (2009). Chez Pazienza. Retrieved from

-Pazienza, Chez. (2009, February 5). Deus ex malcontent: making a mockery of mockery. Retrieved from

-Poynter Online. (2009, February 5). CNN producer claims he was fired for blogging. Retrieved from

-Wolgemuth, Liz. (2008, February 5). 5 ways your computer use can get you fired. US News & World Report. Retrieved from


Filed under: Online Journalism Ethics, , , , , , ,

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