An Associated Press editor informed Virginia and West Virginia staffers that two colleagues were fired on Monday afternoon through a cryptic memo obtained by the Huffington Post.
The memo didn't say explicitly that political writer Bob Lewis and news editor Dena Potter had been fired, as HuffPost reported two hours earlier, but simply that they "have left the AP." And in a sign of how quickly the company planned to move on, by Tuesday it had already posted job openings in an attempt to fill the now vacated positions.
In addition to Lewis and Potter, the AP also fired Atlanta-based editor Norman Gomlak in response to a retracted Oct. 9 article alleging that Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe lied in a federal probe.
The AP has not publicly discussed the firings, citing a company policy against commenting on personnel matters.
Still, some AP staffers expected that management might explain its reasoning -- or at least acknowledge that three colleagues were fired -- by way of a company-wide internal memo. So far, that hasn't happened, leaving Monday's terse memo as the only internal announcement about the departure of a Lewis, a 28-year veteran of the company, and Potter, who started at the AP in 2005.
The memo, sent by south region editor Lisa Marie Pane on Monday, is below:
I wanted to inform you that Dena Potter and Bob Lewis have left the AP.
We will soon be posting for their positions. In the interim, Phil Elliot will be covering the governor's race while Larry O'Dell will continue covering other aspects of state government news. South Broadcast Editor Ron Vample will be the interim news editor for the two states, so he will be working closely with you on all aspects of the state news report and handling any administrative needs.