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It’s the Media’s ‘Mean-Too’ Moment. Stop Yelling and Go to Human Resources.

Perhaps even worse, Ms. Cooper remarked early on that she’d never heard of Brian Lehrer, the beloved WNYC morning host whose gently probing, public-spirited interviews embody the station’s appeal, and that she didn’t “get” why he was popular. She has since come to the view that “Brian is the soul of the station and, in many ways, the city itself,” a WNYC spokeswoman, Jennifer Houlihan Roussel, said in an email.

In fact, Ms. Cooper’s mission was to jump-start the station’s lagging digital transformation, something she had done with unusual success in San Francisco and that requires a willingness to make enemies. She has ambitious plans to hire 15 to 20 more reporters — but first she had the near-impossible assignment of bringing together a group of traditional radio journalists, used to working for days and occasionally weeks on colorful local features, with the reporters at Gothamist, the scrappy local blog that WNYC bailed out in 2018. Ms. Cooper sought to professionalize Gothamist away from its bloggy and irreverent roots, telling reporters to be less openly hostile to the New York Police Department in their reporting, two reporters said. Ms. Roussel suggested that Ms. Cooper was trying to rein in Gothamist’s habit of adding “an element of editorializing to its coverage that can be interpreted as bias.”

And Ms. Cooper started pushing the radio journalists to pick up their pace and to file stories for the web. That seemed like a reasonable request, but it led to another stumble in early February, when an 18-year veteran of the radio side, Fred Mogul, filed a story with one paragraph printed in a different font. The editor realized it was Associated Press copy; Ms. Cooper promptly fired Mr. Mogul (who declined through his union to be interviewed) for plagiarism without a review of whether he’d ever done it before.

Ms. Cooper declined to speak to me about Mr. Mogul’s termination. But one thing I learned this week about public radio is that no matter what is happening, someone is always recording it. And that was true when Ms. Cooper called a virtual meeting Feb. 5 over Zoom to inform the full newsroom of her decision to fire Mr. Mogul. According to a copy of the recording provided to me by an attendee, Ms. Cooper told the staffers, “It’s totally OK to be sad.” But then several stunned radio reporters questioned the move, explaining that they regularly incorporated A.P. copy into stories on air and had imported the practice to WNYC’s little-read website, crediting The A.P. at the bottom of the story.

“Go through every single one of our articles and fire all of us, because that is exactly what we have all done,” one host, Rebeca Ibarra, told her.

On Feb. 10, more than 60 employees — including Mr. Lehrer — signed a letter asking Ms. Cooper to reconsider and calling the firing a “troubling precedent.”

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WNYC Fires Bob Garfield, Co-Host of ‘On the Media’

Bob Garfield, a longtime co-host of WNYC’s popular program “On the Media,” has been fired after two separate investigations found he had violated an anti-bullying policy, New York Public Radio, which owns WNYC, said on Monday.

Mr. Garfield’s employment was terminated “as a result of a pattern of behavior that violated N.Y.P.R.’s anti-bullying policy,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

“This decision was made following a recent investigation conducted by an outside investigator that found that he had violated the policy,” she said. He had been disciplined and warned after an investigation in 2020, “which also found that he had violated the policy,” she added.

In an email on Monday, Mr. Garfield said he was not yet able to speak fully about the circumstances surrounding his firing but defended his behavior as yelling.

an investigation into the workplace culture at New York Public Radio and WNYC was conducted after a series of misconduct accusations against on-air personalities. While it did not identify “systemic” harassment, the investigation found that incidents of bullying and harassment were not reported to senior management out of fear of reprisals and a lack of faith in the system.

In December 2017, two longtime hosts, Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz, were fired after complaints of inappropriate behavior, and a former host of “The Takeaway,” John Hockenberry, was accused of sexual harassment. The handling of the allegations contributed to the downfall of Laura R. Walker, the longtime president and chief executive of New York Public Radio, who stepped down in March 2019.

Mr. Garfield co-hosted “On the Media” for 20 years. He also wrote a column for Advertising Age for 25 years until 2010 and hosts the Audible podcast “The Genius Dialogues.”

“I was fired not for ‘bullying’ per se but for yelling at two meetings,” he wrote in the email. “In both cases, as will be clear eventually, the provocation was extraordinary and simply shocking.”

He said last year’s investigation was in regard to yelling that “involved gross insubordination under production pressure.”

“In time, the full story will emerge … and it is really scary,” Mr. Garfield said. “This is tragic.”

“On the Media” examines how the news media operates and what impact the news has. It won a Peabody Award in 2004 and now airs to millions of listeners across 421 public radio stations.

WNYC’s chief content officer, Andrew Golis, told the staff in an email on Monday that the show would continue with Brooke Gladstone, Mr. Garfield’s co-host and the managing editor of the show, at the helm.

“I know this is significant news for our N.Y.P.R. community,” Mr. Golis said in the email, which was viewed by The New York Times. “Bob has been a part of the organization for two decades, and ‘On the Media’ is an invaluable companion to listeners around the country both on-air and online. It’s a show we’re proud to support, and a team we’re proud to have as colleagues.”

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