NASHVILLE, TN – On August 7, 2014, The Tennessean Executive Editor Stefanie Murray
announced a shake-up at the Tennessean saying “Current positions in our newsroom are changing dramatically, and every job in the newsroom is being redefined. Instead, we’re starting from square one with a new approach and a new set of jobs”.
Without explanation or farewell, Heidi Hall’s last day at The Tennessean was apparently Friday, August 8, 2014. According to Twitter, Heidi Hall will start working for Vanderbilt University Engineering Communications on Monday, August 11, 2014.
Heidi Hall worked at The Tennessean as “Religion Editor” and a general assignment reporter while also trying to cover the Tennessee Walking Horse story.
It resulted in a “hit and miss” approach.
On several occasions, important newsworthy events were not reported on by Heidi Hall in The Tennessean.
Three Big Ones:
- The USDA decertifying the Celebration’s S.H.O.W. HIO horse inspection program.
- The progress of the PAST ACT in the U. S. Congress.
- Pat Stout suing TWHBEA for $1 Million damages for its allegedly improper actions.
The Tennessee Walking Horse beat was never an easy one for Heidi Hall.
Here are the components of the Tennessee Walking Horse story:
- animal cruelty
Heidi Hall simply didn’t have the “fire in the belly” or the requisite knowledge of the subject matter to do the story justice. The sore Big Lick schmoozers, especially PSHA Spokesperson/WHR Editor Jeffrey Howard, quickly realized it and fed Ms Hall baloney. Too many times, Heidi Hall printed the Big Lick jibber jabber verbatim without asking probing questions regarding what she was being told.
Ms Hall repeatedly referred to the exhibition of Big Lick Tennessee Walking Horses as “sport” when it should have been clear to Heidi Hall that you cannot have a “sport” when the abuse of a defenseless animal underlies the activity.
To her credit, Hall made “some efforts” to improve her knowledge, but the height of her lack of enthusiasm for the TWH story came when Heidi Hall did not attend the annual Sound Horse Conference held in Brentwood, Tennessee on March 29, 2014. It was held a mere 11 minutes from The Tennessean newspaper. Instead of covering the SHC, Heidi Hall attended and reported that day on a meeting of right wing Republican Tennessee legislators who were concerned about possible Islamic attacks from outer space. The article drew a grand total of 8 comments and 217 Facebook shares.
That was inexcusable for a news reporter assigned to cover a story of the magnitude of the Tennessee Walking Horse saga. At the SHC, Hall could have interviewed persons on both sides of the issue. They were all available at one time and place, and Heidi Hall didn’t darken the door. She was off covering Islamic outer space threats.
Ironically, Heidi Hall’s best story regarding the Tennessee Walking Horse subject was her last one. Compared to the outer space caper, the “Dutch” story drew 126 comments and 2,272 Facebook shares. Ms. Hall met “Dutch” at the ‘end of her TWH trail’, and the light seemed to finally come on for Heidi Hall that the sore Big Lick is NOT a “sport”.
Ms Hall wrote an insightful story on August 4, 2014, featuring Dutch explaining how abused and scarred Big Lick “Dutch” was saved from “slaughter”. Heidi Hall was rewarded for her efforts by having TWHNC Chairman David L. Howard describe The Tennessean’s reporting as “lazy and unethical”.
It was the best story Heidi Hall wrote on Tennessee Walking Horses during the time she was employed by The Tennessean.
It will be interesting to see who The Tennessean will now select to cover the Tennessee Walking Horse story in the all important days to come.