SANTA BARBARA – (AP) The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has sided with the Santa Barbara News-Press in a long-running dispute between the paper and reporters fired in 2006.The Court ruled the newspaper was protected by the First Amendment when it dismissed eight reporters and disciplined others after the employees complained about the paper’s editorial practices. Owner Wendy McCaw was also accused of interfering with news coverage.Five managers walked off the job in July of 2006, including top editor Jerry Roberts, saying they could no longer comply with decisions that would compromise their professional journalist standards.Other reporters claimed they were illegally fired for union activity and legitimate complaints. They held organized protests, often in silence with their mouths covered, in Santa Barbara’s De la Guerra Plaza. Earlier this year, the Second District California Court of Appeals in Ventura ruled that McCaw must pay almost 1-million dollars in attorney’s fee to Roberts.A series of lawsuits stemming from the original 2006 dispute are still pending.
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