Roanoke Times, Former Beat Writer Settle Lawsuits Over Twitter Account
A pair of lawsuits between former Roanoke Times Virginia Tech football beat reporter Andy Bitter and the newspaper's parent company, BH Media Group, have "ended with the two sides agreeing to drop their claims," according to Michael Phillips of the RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH. BH Media sued Bitter after he left for The Athletic, where he "continued to report on Virginia Tech football," contending that the Twitter account Bitter used to provide updates "should have remained with the paper, citing that it was given to Bitter by a previous reporter" at the Roanoke Times. BH Media estimated that it "would take $150,000 and seven years (the length of time Bitter was with the paper) to hire someone to create a similar list of potential customers via a Twitter account." In a countersuit, Bitter "alleged libel by the paper in its reporting on the lawsuit." Bitter will "retain access to the account, which uses the handle @AndyBitterVT, but posted a short statement Thursday that directed people" to the Roanoke Times' new account (RICHMOND.com, 11/15).
STILL A LEGAL GRAY AREA: AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Sean Keeley writes it is hard to "blame local outlets for wanting to hold on to whatever they can in the fight to remain relevant and in business." Retaining intellectual property was "at the heart of a lawsuit filed by BH Media." The decision of this case was supposed to "echo through the halls of media companies across the nation," but in the end "cooler heads prevailed and it looks like that murky grey legal area between social media, reporters, and their media companies will remain just that for the foreseeable future" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 11/16).