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Chicken-Fried News: Media buzz




The very same day that two Tulsa World investigative reporters were named as Pulitzer Prize finalists for their work covering Oklahoma’s execution process, the rumor mill exploded.

In drama better suited for shallow and overhyped, mid-’80s Geraldo Rivera-era “must-watch” TV, media descended on our state like someone busted into Al Capone’s secret vault during sweeps week.

While in the midst of covering alleged conduct that could have contributed to a reserve deputy shooting and killing an unarmed black suspect, the two lead reporters walked away from the publication just as national news crews swooped in to feast on the sensational story.

Later that day, it was discovered that two more people also left the newspaper. Industry gossip rags frothed with speculation of possible reporting failures or pushback from law enforcement agencies as reasons for their departures. “Oh. Media has no freedom anymore. They were axed for perpetuating liberal bias,” people said.

But the truth was even more shocking.

World enterprise editor and Pulitzer finalist Ziva Branstetter, along with Pulitzer finalist Cary Aspinwall and reporters Dylan Goforth and Kevin Canfield, abruptly resigned because Bobby Lorton, the man who sold the Tulsa World family newspaper to Warren Buffet’s BH Media Group, decided he wanted to get back into the biz.

We’re assuming the non-competition agreement, if there was one, must have expired. But Lorton hired away Tulsa World’s A-Team to launch The Frontier, an independent, web-based media company that’s scheduled to formally launch this month.

How’s that for turning notions of old media on its head?

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