Report to Readers: A regrettable comment
A Monitor reporter made an inappropriate comment this morning that was unintentionally public and subsequently became fodder for a speech on the floor of the New Hampshire House. I apologize for the incident and want to explain how it happened.
As our State House reporters noted in their “Capital Beat” column on Sunday, former House speaker Bill O’Brien’s new seat in the House is not nearly so lofty as his former position at the front of the Hall of Representatives. He is seated at the very back of the hall, in a two-person row – between a Democrat and a large pillar.
Yesterday, reporter Annmarie Timmins used Twitter to send out a photo of O’Brien in his new seat, alongside his new seat-mate, Concord Rep. Katherine Rogers.
And then – intending to respond to a private message on Twitter via another private message – Timmins made a remark about Rogers’s weight. “I see she hasn’t minimized,” Timmins wrote.
When she realized it had been sent out publicly, she quickly removed it. But by that time, the message had been seen by at least one lawmaker in Representatives Hall. Rep. Al Baldasaro took to the House floor, repeated the essence of the message and criticized Timmins.
Timmins immediately called Rogers. “I apologized to her and acknowledged I had been unprofessional and inappropriate,” she said. “I regret that a stupid comment made by me created an uncomfortable situation for Rogers in such a public way.”
I’ve talked to Timmins about this incident. It’s embarrassing not only to the players at the State House but also to the Monitor. The job of State House reporters is to cover the news, not be the news, and that is our goal going forward.