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Women’s Wear Daily changed its story about Leah Finnegan, formerly the features editor for Gawker, after Finnegan busted the site for accusing her of being fired and for not contacting her for comment.

“I was not fired, dismissed, or let go from Gawker,” Finnegan told iMediaEthics. “I voluntarily took the buyout. WWD did not contact me for comment before they published the first version of the story.”

But it wasn’t a simple mistake and quick correction.

It took Women’s Wear Daily a few hours to post an acknowledgement that it wrongly said Finnegan was fired (she took a buyout). There were at least three versions of the story posted last night.

iMediaEthics asked Women’s Wear Daily after it changed the article the first time to remove error if it would post a correction but the magazine declined to comment. A few hours after deleting its claims that Finnegan was fired, Women’s Wear Daily re-wrote the story and acknowledged the error in the story by adding, “WWD initially incorrectly reported that Finnegan had been dismissed.”

Below, a breakdown of how the Women’s Wear Daily story changed.



1. The original story says Finnegan was fired.

After Women’s Wear Daily published the story saying she was fired, Finnegan tweeted the original story commenting “to be clear I was not ‘dismissed’ or ‘let go’ @ gawker. I voluntarily took the buyout.”


The first version of the WWD story

A screenshot of a portion of the first version of the WWD story


She added that “I was not contacted for comment on this article which is cool.”

Finnegan told iMediaEthics by e-mail that she e-mailed the Women’s Wear Daily reporter, Alexandra Steigrad, who responded to her complaints by updating the story to say Finnegan “claimed the media firm had bought her out.”

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2. Second version of the story: WWD takes out firing claim but doesn’t correct: Women’s Wear Daily changes the story  to take out references to Finnegan being fired and doesn’t admit error. Women’s Wear Daily also characterizes Finnegan as “constantly tweeting” and says Finnegan “has spent a large part of the last few days tweeting editors at other publications asking for a job.”


Version 2 of the WWD article.

Version 2 of the WWD article.


Finnegan pointed out that the first paragraph of the story still was problematic. It said:

On Monday, the constantly tweeting Finnegan claimed the media firm had bought her out and said she would be exiting. She has spent a large part of the last few days tweeting editors at other publications asking for a job.”

Finnegan told iMediaEthics that it was an odd characterization. “I don’t tweet THAT much, and I haven’t been tweeting at editors asking for jobs,” she wrote. “I have tweeted at friends, jokingly, asking if they needed assistants or nannies, so if anything WWD is just grossly misinterpreting that, which is annoying.”


3. 3rd Version of the story: Women’s Wear Daily admits in its story it was wrong to say Finnegan was fired. The magazine removes the claim that she had been asking editors for jobs on Twitter over the weekend but doesn’t post a correction for that either.


The third version of the WWD story admits WWD wrongly said Finnegan was fired.

The third version of the WWD story admits WWD wrongly said Finnegan was fired.


But even then, Finnegan told iMediaEthics she disputes another claim in its article — that her live-tweeting of a Gawker meeting last week got her 4,000 new followers on Twitter. “I gained a couple hundred” followers, Finnegan said.  “They won’t change it because they measured my followers using some sort of metric that is apparently more accurate than my own knowledge of my Twitter account,” she wrote.

(iMediaEthics checked her account on Twitter Counter, which says she has currently 4,430 followers — she actually has 5,600 — and that number hasn’t changed since June 18, 2015.)




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Women’s Wear Daily Wrongly says Gawker fired Leah Finnegan, Didn’t Contact for Comment

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