A newspaper editor says she was fired yesterday for misleading her employer about the embarrassing death of her friend, a fellow editor who died after having sex with a much younger woman. Now the fired woman, Kathleen Glanville, is speaking out on Facebook, where she says, “There are times in life when you have to make a decision about what is most important. I am sorry that my decision — which came from love — cost me my job.”
The story began last weekend, when 63-year-old Oregon newspaper editor Bob Caldwell died of a heart attack. His own newspaper, the Oregonian, reported that he had been found dead in a parked car, citing a “family friend.” It turns out that family friend was Glanville, and she had knowingly given them false information. The real story, which Glanville had her from Caldwell’s wife, her close friend, was much more sordid: Caldwell had died in the apartment of a 23-year-old woman he had been paying for sex.
The woman told police that she met Caldwell a year ago at a community college in Portland. Caldwell began giving her cash for books and other materials in exchange for sex. The day that he died, they were together at her apartment; she called 911 after he began coughing and became unresponsive after sex.
Caldwell’s wife told Glanville the truth about his death, but she was reluctant to share the facts with her own paper. When the paper discovered that Glanville had lied, it fired her. Glanville posted this sincere message on Facebook:
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to The Oregonian for the many years that I had the privilege to work there. I was fired this afternoon because in the midst of great sorrow for the loss of my dearest friend, I did not share with the paper the embarrassing details of his death, which I knew only because of my close relationship with his wife.
I understand the need my newspaper felt to punish my violation of journalistic ethics in some way. There are times in people’s lives when you have to make a decision about what is most important. I am sorry that my decision — which came from love — cost me my job. I will always cherish the many people who I have worked beside for so many years.
I loved working at The Oregonian — it was my life.
The paper’s position is understandable: Lying about a news event is pretty much the worst crime you can commit in journalism. But it’s impossible not to feel for Glanville, who lost a close friend and had to decide on the fly how to handle his story with compassion. The best thing would have been not to comment at all. Now she’s lost both a friend and her job.