Kenosha editor who quit over inflammatory headline launches GoFundMe

By: - September 1, 2020 11:23 am
Screenshot from Daniel Thompson's GoFundMe page

Screenshot from Daniel Thompson’s GoFundMe page

Daniel Thompson, the digital editor at The Kenosha News who quit on Saturday after his editor insisted on putting an inflammatory headline on a story about a protest, has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help him continue reporting.

Thompson, who was the only full-time Black staff member at the Kenosha News, resigned over a headline that focused on a provocative quote from one speaker at a rally to support Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha police.

Thompson told his editor the quote was not representative of the mood of the rally.

The headline: “WATCH NOW: Kenosha speaker: ‘If you kill one of us it’s time for us to kill one of yours,’ was later changed.

The speaker, who was not identified in Thompson’s piece, spoke near the end of a rally that featured remarks from Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes and members of Jacob Blake’s family.

“I can stand for being unemployed. I CANNOT stand for this,” Thompson wrote in a Facebook post explaining his decision to quit.

Thompson also posted a screenshot of his conversation with his editor, in which he asked that the headline be changed. “Yes, you should calm down,” the editor apparently wrote to him via text. “This is a public threat and it is an exact quote. At a rally that was to that point totally on message.”

“Then I quit,” Thompson replied.

The headline on his piece was later changed to “Kenosha speaker strays from message at rally.”

Thompson says he is not finished working as a journalist in Kenosha and launched a GoFundMe campaign on Monday to raise money toward that end.

“Since I resigned from the Kenosha News, many people have asked what I plan on doing next,” he writes on the GoFundMe page.

“And the truth is, I don’t know what exactly it is, but I don’t think I’m done with Kenosha. And I don’t think I’m done with journalism.

“That said, I’m asking (and feel like an ass asking) for some assistance during this time to the tune of $5,000. I figure that’s what I need to have two months free to develop and launch new projects while being able to cover my bills, pay for medications, etc. 

“So if you want to invest in me, my journalism skills and you want a better news source in Kenosha, please donate. 

“I want to continue to serve the community. And this is how I do it best.”

As of Tuesday morning, just before President Donald Trump was to arrive for a rally in Kenosha, the page had raised more than $17,500.

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Ruth Conniff
Ruth Conniff

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She graduated from Yale University in 1990, where she ran track and edited the campus magazine The New Journal. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.