Jacqui Helbert reaches court settlement with WUTC
CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Former WUTC reporter Jacqui Helbert has reached a settlement with the University of Tennessee system over her firing.
Last March, the station said they fired her for violating journalism standards in the report.
Lawmakers complained that she did identify herself as a reporter when she was part of a group of students talking to them about the transgender bathroom bill.
Helbert argued that she was wearing radio earphones and a mic that obviously marked her as a radio reporter.
After she was fired, she got support from national and even international reporters.
And her supporters accused the lawmakers of applying pressure on the university system to silence her.
Last spring, she told us “it’s been incredible that this is something that a lot of people can rally behind.”
Now the UT system has agreed to pay her a $50,000 settlement.
“I am satisfied with the settlement and look forward to the next chapter of my life. I harbor no ill will toward WUTC, UTC, or anyone associated with them,” said Helbert in a statement.
“UTC is glad to move forward and wishes Ms. Helbert well. She has a bright future,” said Terry Denniston, UTC Chief of Staff.
According to UT Chattanooga Chancellor Steve Angle, “UTC values both the editorial independence of WUTC and high journalistic standards of ethics. I have made that commitment clear to both the University community and to WUTC employees.”
Helbert adds “I hope that WUTC will continue to address and clarify the editorial independence of WUTC and its staff.”
“That way, the ability of reporters, especially those who work for University-owned media stations, to report accurate news is unencumbered by popular opinion and marketing. These matters are critically important to me, to a free press, and I will continue to advocate for editorial integrity and firewalls between the editorial and marketing functions of university-owned radio stations.”