Fort Worth Weekly reporter Betty Brink has racked up a respectable number of journalism awards for the paper, most recently being named Print Journalist of the Year in the under-100,000-circulation category by the Houston Press Club. She's been a stalwart for the weekly, and some of her excellent work has appeared in this paper, back when the same company owned both publications. But she's never won the Big Kahuna of journalism prizes, the Pulitzer. Dan Malone, a recent addition to the Fort Worth Weekly's staff, shared one in 1992 when he was on the staff of The Dallas Morning News. Buzz doesn't know him, but people tell us he is a talented reporter, too.

Should they be paid equally?

Feel free to discuss that among yourselves; Buzz, who has worked with Brink, Fort Worth Weekly Editor Gayle Reaves and the paper's publisher, Lee Newquist--and likes all of them--is going to nip out for a whiz and a smoke. (Don't know Malone, but we'd be happy to buy him a beer someday.) In any case, we know better than to open our yap when acquaintances square off for a battle.

Brink, who as a reporter and 70-year-old woman has witnessed and written about workplace discrimination, claims that Malone was hired at a salary that's more than 50 percent greater than hers, despite what she says are promises from management that her salary would keep pace with new hires. She has filed an age and gender discrimination complaint against the Fort Worth Weekly with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"Dan's a good guy," Brink told Buzz, but added, "He won the Pulitzer for another paper. I have won awards for Fort Worth Weekly."

Brink says she deserves to be paid at least as much as the highest-paid male reporter, since all hands on the paper's small staff must pull their weight to get the paper out. She says she's also earning $1,000 less annually than the paper's third staff writer, Jeff Prince.

Reaves couldn't confirm any salary information and hadn't yet seen Brink's EEOC complaint, but she says, "We think she's been treated fairly and that she has no case."

And that, friends, is that. Oh, wait. Buzz is supposed to take a position and make some pithy, bold-faced comment on the issue. Okeedokee, here goes: Discrimination is very, very bad. What? You want us to take a stand on whether we think Brink was a victim of discrimination? Certainly. We're going to go stand in a corner, hands in pockets and eyes on ceiling, until you all go away.

Now go away.


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