May 20th, 2010 5:33 pm | by HANK STERN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP

Oregonian Reporter Fired After Diane Downs Story Appears in Glamour (UPDATED with Bhatia comment)

Lisa Lednicer at City Hall in January 2009

Veteran Oregonian reporter Lisa Grace Lednicer got fired today after more than 12 years at the daily.

Lednicer recently co-wrote a story that was published in Glamour magazine about Diane Downs' mystery daughter — a puzzling decision given that the story would have had great interest among readers of The Oregonian. Downs is perhaps Oregon's most notorious criminal after fatally shooting one of her children in 1984. The infamous crime was the subject of an Ann Rule best-seller, Small Sacrifices.

Lednicer —whose career at the paper included stints covering east Multnomah County, the Legislature, Portland Public Schools and courts — said she did not want to comment about her termination but did confirm it was linked to the publication of that piece in a national magazine.

"I don't really want to go into it," she said this afternoon. "It's hard for me ... That's all I want to say."

Oregonian Editor Peter Bhatia said this afternoon the Downs piece was "a story of significant interest to the newspaper's readers, and it should have been run past us before Lisa took the assignment."

He said the newspaper asks its staffers not to write for competitors and to clear any assignments beforehand.

"She didn't do that," Bhatia said of Lednicer.

Bhatia said Lednicer told an editor about three weeks ago about the piece, but he said the firing didn't happen immediately because the paper "wanted to exercise due diligence" and read the piece before making a decision. Bhatia, who hired Lednicer, said it was a hard decision to fire her today.

"I respect Lisa," Bhatia said. "I think she's a fine reporter."

(The photo above shows Lednicer trailing city Commissioner Nick Fish in 2009 after the Beau Breedlove scandal surfaced.)
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