Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Arts Council Director Fired or Resigned, anatomy of the story.

Friday I received a tip the Arts Council Director Dana DeMartino, who had resigned that day, was possibly not leaving on her own accord. The story was Ms. Martino had fired or forced out of the organization several key and long time employees and that she had serious performance issues.

After that call Saturday morning I posted the following headline on this blog, and promoted the story on a local blog in an effort to see what information about Ms. Demartino was available. The idea was to use the information gathered to formulate questions of the decision makers in the situation and find the truth. As expected Cenla Antics where I promoted this blog was not helpful and even a tad insulting. Not a surprise in this new world.

In the meantime an internal memo was leaked to me regarding Ms. DeMartino's job issues. This information was not released as it held several items in it difficult to verify. The story it seems was difficult to verify on many levels.

Monday, I assigned KALB-TV Anchor/Reporter Renee Allen to the story. Ironically we were in the process of receiving training from the Society of Professional Journalists and Renee had difficulty getting calls back from all parties involved in the issue.

To her credit Ms. DeMartino stepped up to the plate and granted KALB-TV an interview that you can watch here. The Arts Council board president also gave Renee a statement to the effect that Ms. DeMartino was simply leaving for a better opportunity and that she had done a terrific job.

I know for a fact Renee Allen emailed or called at least four people who's names where given to us to verify the claims of job performance issues with Ms. DeMartino. As of this writing I am unaware of any calls back.

Just thought some of you would enjoy seeing the anatomy of a story. Thoughts?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

i watched the interview with demartino and think she sounds fine, you seem to be on a witch hunt

Anonymous said...

Typical KALB reporting. No hard hitting questions. Why not wait until call are returned, so that a more complete report could have been done? Of course, other than the blue bloods in the garden district and Charles Park, who really cares about an art director? If you don't have any substantial news to report, show us some cartoons.

Blogger said...

Again as I have mentioned before if you feel the need to insult and not offer constructive suggestions you have the free will to remove yourself from the KALB-TV channel and watch cartoon network.

Anonymous said...

. . . . and many have, with your apparent blessing.

Greg Aymond said...

Michelle, it is apparent that KALB, and the Town Talk for that matter, has major trust issues with the public. While it is true that much of the gossip posted upon Cenla Antics is not backed up by factual proof, why doesn't KALB assign one of its reporters to investigate some of the politically pertinent issues?
With an unwillingness to accept critisism from your viewing public, one wonders what purpose this blog actually serves. You have a chance to regain the trust and respect of the community. Will you act on it? I personally would appreciate investigative reporting, with hard hitting questions, and not simply a love fest between media and politicians.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say as a former employee of Dana DeMartino that all the rumors about how badly she treats her employees are very much true. It was a horrible experience working for her. She is very demanding, no patience and has a very quick temper. She treats her employees like children. Nothing they do is ever good enough and she never gives them any credit. Her employees are the ones that make her look good. She is also not very computer literate. I do not know for sure if she was asked to leave. She probably already had this job lined up after the 5th employee quit. I am relieved that she is moving on and the Arts Council can now recover from the damage she has caused to the Council. She said that the Council is now in the black because of her. It is probably because of the lack of employees and not having to pay their salaries. I hope the next director will be better for the community and Arts in our area. We need someone who cares about Cenla and who will promote our wonderful local Arts scene.

Steved said...

It must really be easy to criticize from the world of anonymity. If you actually worked for her, why not use your name and go on camera in the piece?

Anonymous said...

The person doesn't want to use her name because she now has another job close by and doesn't want to jeopardize it. Why not ask the chairman, Ed Larvadain III, why he and the board didn't act on the two complaints filed against the director?????????????

Anonymous said...

Good thing Woodward and Bernstein didn't stop after a few "non-responses" to their "emails..."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAAHAHAHA.....


WHAT A JOKE!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't wish to be ill mannered so tell me what constitutes prohibited insult. Does someone criticizing your professional judgment or news product constitute insult or honest criticism? If truth and information are your objectives, how can you be so thin skinned? We are the consumers are we not?

KAButterfly said...

With some modicum of fairness to Ms. DeMartino, she was very friendly to me and complemented my family. I think she genuinely liked us.

That of course has nothing to do with her job ethics.

I knew all the office personnel involved and there was no reason for them to have been dismissed by her. They were artistic, intellegent,and hardworking. They knew their jobs and they were all assets to the community and to the Arts Council.

Unfortunately, Ms DeMartino slipped up in conversation with me, when she accidentally acknowledged that she "finally got rid" of most of the people who were around her.

Although she was pleasant to me in all my dealings with her, it was apparent that no one could be certain what she was thinking.

On the otherhand. Isn't it true that she came to the job thinking there was money and found that there was a deficit instead?

I don't think anyone here will lose out with her finding another job. It should have been nine months sooner--for her sake and ours.

Anonymous said...

Reflecting on the comments about reporting upthread...

I think there is a fine line in reporting in a (relatively) rural Southern community.

Sure, we want investigative reporting and pointed questions, but served with a smile. This community is very interconnected and mostly kinned to one another, be it siblings or sixteenth cousins. Ours is a small world with common histories. It is usually a polite one. I, for one, would like to see some measure of this stay.

That's a slippery slope for any news outlet. Glad it's not my job. I surely don't propose coddling of any person or group per the local media... just sayin' we had better be sure we're wanting what we seem to asking for...

Anonymous said...

To KAButterfly.... you mention in your post that "I knew all the office personnel involved and there was no reason for them to have been dismissed by her." For the record, none of us were dismissed by her. We left because we found it impossible to continue to work with her. No one needs to work in an abusive work place nor with a boss who is incompetent and dishonest. It is unfortunate that she had to destroy a good working team and a good part of the arts community as well.