Longtime Denton Record-Chronicle opinion-page editor Mike Trimble was fired last week after a dispute with the paper's publisher, Bill Patterson. Trimble, 68, had been at the paper 18 years and its lone editorial writer since 2002.
"It was just a difference of opinion," Trimble told Unfair Park on Monday. "And he's in a better position than I am."
Patterson could not be reached. One person close to the situation said the disagreement arose because Trimble didn't take a conservative enough stance in his articles. The Record-Chronicle is owned by the A.H. Belo Corp., the parent company of The Dallas Morning News.
"Bill said he'd have to write anything Bill wanted, any way he wanted it written," the source explained. According to the source, it became an ethical issue for Trimble, since it applied to matters of fact and opinion. When Trimble said he wouldn't, Patterson fired him for insubordination.
Trimble didn't elaborate on the dust-up but seemed in good spirits when he spoke to Unfair Park on the phone.
"I've received a couple of calls of support," Trimble said. Several fans, friends and families said they were canceling their subscriptions, but Trimble urged them to reconsider.
"They need the Record-Chronicle to get news of the city. I'll keep reading."
Trimble started his career 48 years ago in his home state of Arkansas at the Texarkana Gazette. He's won countless awards for his writing, including the 2006 American Society of Newspaper Editors award for editorial writing. Despite the Record-Chronicle's small circulation, Trimble beat out writers from The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.
"I consider myself a retired person," Trimble said, joking that there wasn't much of a market for a 68-year-old journalist.
"When I started, when someone got fired you went back in the storage room and found empty round boxes to put your shit in.
"Now they have 'you've been laid off' boxes back there. Brand new, folded up, still have the creases and everything," Trimble said, and then paused. "I guess that's what they're for."