OLD Media Moves

Former Austin Biz Journal reporter claims censorship

April 23, 2018

Posted by Chris Roush

Christopher Calnan
Christopher Calnan

Christopher Calnan, a former tech reporter for the Austin Business Journal, claims in a blog post that his 2016 departure from the American City Business Journals publication was due to computer maker Dell Technologies threatening the publication about his coverage.

Calnan writes, “It was the culmination of a 16-month case of thinly disguised censorship sparked by Texas-based Dell Technologies Inc. threatening the Austin Business Journal over its coverage. Dell had an unlikely accomplice, a media organization affiliated with the company that owns that paragon of journalism, New Yorker magazine, and donates millions to Syracuse University’s lauded journalism program.

“I had been a reporter for North Carolina-based American City Business Journals for 11 years, covering technology for three years at its Boston-based Mass High Tech and then eight years at the Austin Business Journal. Managers dismissed me after breaking a story about Dell planning to move its annual users conference (called Dell World) from Austin to Las Vegas. We also reported that the relocation would cost Austin businesses about $8 million in annual revenue.

“Two weeks after the article, ABJ managers called for an unscheduled performance review. Despite an unblemished tenure, they said my job was in jeopardy — something that had happened only once before, also two weeks after a manager said a senior Dell executive threatened our parent company after we broke a previous Dell story in mid-2015.”

Read more here. Talking Biz News reached to to ACBJ for comment. CEO Whit Shaw responded that Calnan’s departure was a personnel issue and that the company doesn’t comment on personnel matters.

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