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Monday, January 26, 2009

Dismissed Reporter Sues MediaNews Group, Alleges Race Discrimination

Posted By on Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 4:59 PM

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A former reporter at the Monterey County Herald has sued the Northern California newspaper and its parent company, MediaNews Group, alleging that he was underpaid and then fired because of his race.

MediaNews, headed by press mogul Dean Singleton (pictured), is also a major presence in the Bay Area media market, and owns newspapers including the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Oakland Tribune, and Marin Independent Journal.

Andre Briscoe, a black man who worked at the Herald from August 2005 through January 2008, filed claims of discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination against the paper and MediaNews earlier this month in Monterey County Superior Court. In his complaint, Briscoe asserts that the paper underpaid him compared to less experienced reporters because of his race, and subjected him to more evaluations than other employees.

According to the suit, Briscoe learned of this situation when he became vice-chair of the paper's local union and reviewed a list of pay rates, raises, and evaluations in preparation for 2007 contract negotiations. The suit states that he complained to the Herald's human resources department about racial discrimination on Jan. 7, 2008, and was fired four days later -- leading to Briscoe's retaliation claim.

Herald president and publisher Gary Omernick and executive editor Joe Livernois did not return calls seeking comment.

Read the lawsuit here.

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Peter Jamison

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