NBC Boston investigative reporter claims she was fired for not telling her bosses she was dating a nearby town’s police chief
- NBC Boston’s Karen Hensel told coworkers she was fired on Monday in an email
- She wrote that she was fired because she failed to disclose she was dating Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis Jr.
- She also wrote that she did not do any stories about him after the started dating
- Hensel’s bosses learned of the relationship via an anonymous tipster, she wrote
An NBC Boston investigative reporter has been fired from her job after failing to tell her bosses that she was dating a nearby town’s chief of police.
NBC Boston reporter Karen Hensel was said to have revealed to coworkers in an email Monday that she was fired from her job because she was dating Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis Jr.
In the email, which was obtained by FTV Live, Hensel wrote that ‘Someone filed an anonymous complaint to corporate that I am dating the auburn police chief which I am.’
She then noted that she ‘did not do any stories while I dated him and thought self policing myself was sufficient. I did not disclose the relationship Even though we are not doing any stories together. Whoever did it had their reason instead of coming to me with their concern.’
NBC Boston investigative reporter Karen Hensel (pictured) told coworkers she was fired Monday for not disclosing to her bosses she was dating Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis Jr
Hensel (left) wrote in an email that she did not do any stories involving Sluckis (right) once they started dating and thought that ‘self-policing’ would be ‘sufficient’
It’s unclear when Hensel and Sluckis started dating, but it was noted that she had done a story on the police chief in May 2017. She also appeared on screen with Sluckis and two other police chiefs in an NBC Boston interview that aired in June 2018.
NBC Boston executives did not elaborate on Hensel’s firing, other than to say that she ‘is no longer employed by the station,’ the Boston Globe reported.
Hensel herself told the newspaper that she is ‘exploring my options. I’m not sure what I am going to do next.’
The newspaper also reported that NBC Boston told staffers that their journalists are allowed to date or marry whoever they want, but that they needed to disclose their relationship to a manager if there was either a conflict of interest or potential for one to arise.
Hensel said the couple’s relationship was revealed to her bosses by an an anonymous tipster
Experts said that the problem was not that she was dating Sluckis (left), but that she didn’t tell her bosses about it, which lead to a potential appearance of a conflict of interest
Hensel (right) is seen here during an interview with Sluckis (in white shirt) that aired in 2018. It’s unclear when the two started dating, however
Investigative reporter Hensel appeared then to have been fired because she failed to tell her bosses she was dating a police chief – one that she had previously done segments on.
Experts speculated that the reason why she was fired, instead of given a lighter punishment, had to do with journalistic ethics, as it was possible that neither Hensel’s bosses nor viewers would’ve learned about her relationship with Sluckis had she not been outed by the anonymous tip.
Emerson College’s journalism department chair Jane Kolodzy told the Boston Globe that Hensel not disclosing her relationship was an issue because it offered up the ‘infamous’ appearance of a conflict of interest, ‘even though nothing may have happened.’
Hensel ‘needed to be as upfront as soon as anything went from professional to personal,’ Kolodzy added.
Poynter Institute senior faculty member Al Tompkins noted that while it’s possible for a journalist and a public figure to have a personal relationship, ‘disclosure is the key here.’
Tompkins told the newspaper that ‘It becomes the company’s business when a journalist’s personal life affects the credibility of the journalism,’ especially at a time when it’s important for the public to know that journalists are impartial about the subject matter they’re covering.
Although NBC Boston put employees through ethics training, which includes telling them to avoid conflicts of interest or anything that would seem like one, it seemed that Hensel was either unclear about NBC Boston’s relationship disclosure policy or just didn’t want to reveal details of her private life.
Sluckis did not respond to the Boston Globe’s request for comment.