Editor’s Note: This article is by Jennifer Hersey Cleveland of The Caledonian Record, in which it was first published Oct. 5, 2013.
NEWPORT CITY — The editor of the Newport Daily Express was fired Thursday evening.
Former editor Susan Davis said Friday, “I was shown the door by a nice policeman, after I got the paper done, of course.”
Davis said publisher Kenneth Wells fired her after a four-month period of mounting tensions between the two.
Davis was served a no-trespass order and escorted from the building at about 7:15 p.m. by a Newport City Police officer.
Davis said she and Wells had “irreconcilable differences.” Wells characterized the problem as “philosophical differences.”
Wells said he plans to announce Davis’ replacement next Tuesday, if all goes as planned. Of Davis, he said she had a good three-year run. “We wish her well,” he said.
While Davis is not pleased with Wells’ decision, she said, “I’m trying to walk away from this with a positive attitude and rise above the situation.”
But she added, “I love my job. I love the people I work with. I love journalism.”
The Orleans County Record contacted the Newport City Police Department, based on a tip that Davis approached police with concerns of suspicious activity by Wells.
On Friday, Detective Jennifer Harlow confirmed that Davis made a complaint about Wells. Harlow said there were a number of allegations, which she brought to the company that owns the Express, Horizon Publications, based in Marion, Illinois.
Company representatives told Harlow they would prefer to do their own investigation, and without a victim making a complaint, Harlow brought her investigation to a halt after handing over everything she had to the company.
With no “concrete evidence,” Harlow said she was not at liberty to disclose the nature of the allegations.
Contacted by phone Friday, Wells said he was unaware of any investigation regarding his activities — either by Harlow or Horizon Publications. “Sounds like fantasy,” he said.
“You know, in America anyone can say anything,” Wells said. “Sounds somewhat slanderous to me.”
Davis would not confirm that she alleged anything about Wells. “I’m not the vindictive type,” she said.
Davis, an author and poet, said her novel is going through a final edit before publication and that she’s been planning to launch an online news portal for some time. She said she has a “wonderful” pool of freelance writers who are interested in online media as well and want to work with her.
Davis, a former public defender in Orleans County, is also heavily involved with Hungerfest, a program to raise food for Northeast Kingdom Community Action.
“You know, I’m a Northeast Kingdom native. If we’re not falling down, we’re getting back up,” Davis said with a laugh.
Supporters of Davis wrote kind notes on her Facebook page, saying she had improved the paper during her tenure, after she announced she was no longer employed by the Express Thursday night.
Current employees of the Express would not comment on the situation.
Melanie Radler, president of Horizon Publications, did not return repeated phone calls Friday. A representative at the Illinois headquarters said no other employee could comment for this story.
Editor’s note: Jennifer Hersey Cleveland was a staff writer at the Newport Daily Express for about nine months in 2010, working under both Davis and Wells.