“I decided to make a change at the top of our sports department today,” said The Oklahoman editor Kelly Dyer Fry. “While I hired BigMike69 to help our paper provide the kind of coverage that would get people talking, I feel he went too far in this case and I will turn the sports section over to a more traditional editor, instead of someone who works from home and only communicates via e-mails and texts in all caps.”
The Oklahoman hired BigMike69 back in August as a response to an issue facing all newspapers: dwindling readership. Many media watchers hailed the hire of the Internet commenter — who caught the eyes of The Oklahoman management with online comments such as “BOB STOOP(id)S SHOULD DIE IN A FIRE” and “RUSSELL WESTBRICK SHOULD WALK INTO TRAFFIC” — as a risky, but bold hire.
“We have to give readership what they want, and that is bold opinions that move the dial,” Dyer Fry said at the time, announcing the hire. “I just Skyped with BigMike69 and he has promised our sports sections will have the hottest sports takes in the entire country.”
And BigMike69 mostly came through on his promise and readership and web traffic to the paper’s sports section increased, hitting an all-time high on Thursday when the “Mr. Unreliable” headline brought in record traffic for NewOK .com. But problems arose with Oklahoman staffers and BigMike69.
“Everyone hated working with him,” said one writer. “Maybe media isn’t the place for me anymore, but I want to cover things with depth and nuance. We actually had to talk BigMike69 down to the ‘Mr. Unreliable’ headline. He wanted to go with KEVIN DUR-CANT SHOULD DIE IN A FIRE.”
Dyer Fry said she knows the firing of BigMike69 could mean the end of the paper. “If we go out of business, at least it will be with our heads held high,” she said.
BigMike69 tweeted out this morning that he already has offers from “several national media outlets. SUCK MY BALLS, OK.”
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