New WHYY Reporter Has the Best Story About Being Fired

Bobby Allyn ended up scooping his old paper — the same day he got laid off.

Bobby Allyn 940 x 540

Bobby Allyn, who starts next week as the newest reporter at WHYY, comes to Philadelphia with a host of reporting experience — but more than that, he’s got one of the best stories ever about losing a job in journalism.

Allyn had worked two years at the Nashville Tennessean before being laid off in the summer of 2013. The problem? He was in the middle of breaking a story about the musician Jack White’s divorce when he received news that he was being let go.

Allyn told Romenesko readers what happened next:

“I was working on a scoop on [musician] Jack White’s divorce when The Tennessean laid me off,” courts reporter Bobby Allyn tells Romenesko readers. “As soon as I got the court filing, the paper’s secretary called. ‘You’re wanted in HR in 10 minutes.’

“After they canned me, I walked the scoop across the street.”

“Across the street” was where the offices of alt weekly, the now-defunct Nashville City Paper, were then located. And yes, the story that Bobby Allyn reported for the Nashville Tennessean ended up as a scoop in the City Paper instead. Usually, it takes more than a quick stroll for a laid-off journalist to get their revenge.

“People ask me about that quite a bit,” Allyn said this morning. “Good news transcends the platform. If it’s truly a killer story, eyeballs will find it. And in the case of the Jack White story, getting it out there was more important to me than the details of my exit plan.”

The job at WHYY is a homecoming of sorts for Allyn; he grew up in Plymouth, near Wilkes-Barre. “I’ve been trying to get back to the East Coast for some time,” he said.

Allyn starts at WHYY on Monday.