Statement regarding Kyle Whitmire’s departure from Weld

Weld publisher Mark Kelly has provided a statement regarding the departure of Weld columnist Kyle Whitmire.

Statement regarding Kyle Whitmire’s departure from Weld from Weld Publisher Mark Kelly

As has been reported via Twitter and other social media outlets, Kyle Whitmire has left Weld for Birmingham. Whitmire reportedly will accept an offer from Alabama Media Group, which owns the Birmingham News and the website al.com. Weld Publisher Mark Kelly provided the following statement this afternoon:

Over the past several weeks, substantial differences arose between our management team and Kyle. Those differences were related to our plans for the immediate and future direction and priorities of Weld for Birmingham and its online and print publications. They also involved issues related to Kyle’s current and past job performance and fulfillment of his duties as a shareholder in our company. It seems clear that all of that factored into his decision to accept the position he has been offered with our competitor.

Regarding the issues that contributed to Kyle’s decision, I will not provide specifics, as they involve proprietary information about our company’s operations. We have been aware for a few weeks that Kyle was in discussions with Alabama Media Group, though he did not see fit to share that information with us until yesterday [Thursday], when he told us that he had received and intended to accept a job offer.

On a personal note, I do find it ironic that their recruitment of Kyle comes at a time when the Birmingham News has fired a substantial number of talented and seasoned reporters. Clearly, it is a competitive move in response to the inroads Weld has made in the past 11 months toward our goal of becoming the primary source of news and information for the Birmingham area. That certainly is their prerogative, as it is Kyle’s to accept what I assume is a substantially higher salary than we as a startup company can afford. Of course, it’s ironic anyway, given some of the reporting and editorializing Kyle has done about the company for which he apparently now will be working. These things happen in business.

In any case, the goals, plans and direction of Weld for Birmingham remain the same. We continue to evolve as a media company of the future. Certainly there are some tectonic shifts underway in the local media landscape, most notably the cuts at the News and plans to reduce its print schedule to three days per week beginning in October. We are excited about the opportunities these and and other changes — including several recent and planned moves on our part — present for Weld.