Sarasota newspaper guild slams employer for running Proud Boys column
Proud Boys leaders Joseph Biggs and Ethan Nordean on Jan. 6. Image via AP.

The chorus of critics chastising the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, now includes its newsroom union.

The journalist union for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune took to social media to criticize a publishing decision at the newspaper.

Following controversy over an op-ed piece defending the Proud Boys, The Sarasota Newspaper Guild suggests the root problem may be short staffing.

“We call on Gannett, the owner of the Herald-Tribune, to support local journalism by hiring more local journalists at fair wages, including those who could’ve read the piece prior to publication and prevented it from seeing the light of day with these serious issues intact,” reads a statement from the guild, shared on its Facebook page.

The newspaper on Sunday published a guest opinion from Melissa Radovich defending the Proud Boys as “caring school parents.” After Florida Politics publisher Peter Schorsch on Twitter called out the decision to run the piece, a wave of national criticism followed.

Sarasota Herald-Tribune executive editor Jennifer Orsi issued a public apology and the newspaper took down the piece from its website.

In Orsi’s piece, she promised changes to the vetting process for outside submissions before they make it to print.

“Our editorial process failed to keep this column from being published as it appeared, which did not meet our standards. We are adding additional, higher level review of the process for accepting and editing guest columns for publication,” Orsi wrote. “We will continue to publish varied opinions from across the political spectrum on important local issues. But this decision fell short of our standards, and we apologize to our readers.”

But the guild suggests that glosses over deeper problems and shifts the burden to already taxed newsroom employees.

“While we thank Jennifer Orsi for her statement, the Guild requests to be notified of any changes for an ‘additional, higher level review of the process for accepting and editing guest columns for publication,’ so we, as newsroom staff, can be better informed on how a piece like this made it to print.”

The statement also raises journalistic concerns not addressed by Orsi, such as any mention of prior reporting about Radovich to provide context.

“The guest column also fell short of an invaluable standard in journalism: backgrounding,” the guild statement reads.

“The original piece Radovich was responding to published June 24 stated that ‘… other incorporators were Proud Boy Nicholas Radovich, and his wife, Melissa Radovich.’ This important context was not included in Radovich’s guest column. This fact was overlooked during the editorial process, resulting in the shameful mistake of publishing.”

The guild condemned the content of the column and reiterated the most frequent criticism. Radovich presented the group as simply concerned parents, even as a congressional panel very publicly investigates leaders’ role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

“The column failed to distinguish the Proud Boys for what it really is: a far-right extremist group that promotes white nationalist views, participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection and is labeled as a terrorist group abroad,” the guild stated. “The organization should not be defended in any way or considered a legitimate part of political discourse.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


  • PeterH

    July 13, 2022 at 9:10 am

    Welcome to DeSantis’s FREEDUMB STATE OF FLORIDA.

    It’s impossible to separate the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers or Stormfront from today’s GQP and DeSantis in particular. Republicans dog whistle America’s terrorist for votes. It’s commonly called “culture wars” but make no mistake …. the media’s coining of the term ‘culture wars’ really means ‘civil war’ in the minds of Trumpsters.

  • George Soros

    July 13, 2022 at 10:30 am

    Fun fact – The Proud Boys started as a single father’s support group for men that had to pay child support for children that were actually fathered by their wife’s boyfriends. A bunch of angry cuckolds that grew into a bunch of fascists.

  • Michael Paris

    July 13, 2022 at 11:09 am

    That paper is a joke and they are lucky Gannett has continued to fund it. No smart people have ever worked there, but they want to report “their” news not the news.

  • Ask why

    July 13, 2022 at 11:16 am

    Why do the proud boys all dress like meth dealers?

    …oh nevermind. They are just wearing work clothes.

  • I.Z. Apyddie

    July 13, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Grew up on Gannett newspapers. Briefly worked for one once. Haven’t read any of the “new Gannett” rags in years. Never will again. Pity how a once proud chain of papers can have descended to kissing the whore of woke-ism like this. Between Gannett and the AP and some of these vending machines like Florida Phoenix, it’s plain to see just who this puppet blog salutes. Pity, as I said.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    July 14, 2022 at 7:46 am

    Classic. If you disagree with a viewpoint stopping it from being published is not censorship. So say the wokers

    • ProudBoysAreSnowflakes

      July 14, 2022 at 9:25 am

      There is no differing “viewpoint”. Proud Boys are an extremist group who trade in violence and promote white nationalism. Those are facts.

      Facts don’t care about your feelings.

    • Wendy

      July 14, 2022 at 10:16 am

      If you read the articles you’d know the issue was that they didn’t mention that she was MARRIED to a Proud Boy

  • Wendy

    July 14, 2022 at 10:13 am

    Also it should be noted that Mrs. Radovich is also an officer of the radical Moms for America. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to look into the association between these groups.

  • Jasn

    July 15, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    Question: Is this supposedly a non-partisan author or website? It sure does not ever sound like it. Some articles sound right off a certain news station which everyone knows leans the wrong way.

  • K.D.

    July 16, 2022 at 10:28 am

    All these proud boy supporters on here. You’re fooling no one and making yourselves look like a bigger A-holes that you really are. The article is a opinion piece not an actual news article. They want to attack and oppress certain groups of people and when they get picked on they start crying like babies claiming they are victims or they are being censored. They spew nothing but hate but they make themselves out as the victims, give me a break and grow up. You can deal it but you can’t take it, so sit your bigot rear ends down and shut the hell up. Woke this woke that, you all sound like idiots!

Comments are closed.


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