Sunny Meriwether Speaks Out

Sunny Meriwether, former news director at KEDM, northeast Louisiana’s National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate, has publicly spoken out about her dismissal last year. In a letter to the editor of the Springfield (Missouri) News-Leader, Meriwether said she “felt pressure” to air stories favorable to the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM), and thinks that ULM President James Cofer approved her firing.

I would like to clarify some information in the story titled “Cofer next MSU president,” dated May 15. Jim Cofer is correct in that I was never asked or pressured to air “infomercials” to recruit students to ULM (University of Louisiana at Monroe), nor (to my knowledge) was anyone else at the station. However, I certainly felt pressure, usually unverbalized but real nonetheless, to air stories favorable to ULM. I suppose that when one is employed by an institution which one also covers, such pressure is inevitable.

I cannot tell you why I lost my job last July; I was employed “at the pleasure of the president” and thus could be “terminated without cause.” I was, and no one would tell me why. The person who signed my termination letter was Dean of Arts and Sciences Jeffrey Cass, not Dr. Cofer, but I do believe that Dr. Cofer must have approved the job action.

Archived stories on the Meriwether controversy can be found here.

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