After Inside Edition asked him to take a significant pay cut, reporter and weekend anchor Paul Boyd bid his audience farewell during his final broadcast on May 17. Fast forward to Tuesday, when Boyd posted a rap video on YouTube in which he told the story of how he quit the CBS program and announced his new business venture.
What makes this noteworthy is that it is not unique. We have seen instances like this before.
Just last month, Charlo Greene, a reporter for KTVA-TV Anchorage, Alaska, ended a news segment on medical marijuana by announcing that she owned the Alaska Cannabis Club and saying, "F@#k it, I quit," and walked off.
In March, Russia Today anchor Liz Wahl quit on air over her disagreement with the network’s support of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Crimea. And in November 2012, WVII-WFVX anchors Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio in Bangor, Maine signed off their evening news program with the surprise word that it would be their last, citing longstanding pressure from upper management that they considered unethical.
In the globalizing, ever-churning job market, dramatic exits are hardly limited to journalism, of course. Workers in every industry sector are under stress and have an expanding set of digital tools to help them express it. In 2010, a JetBlue flight attendant announced over the PA system that he was quitting, grabbed two beers, deployed the evacuation slide and zoomed off to unemployment. Sites like Gawker frequently post “Dear John” resignation letters and watch the comments roll in.
Some abrupt departures are justified and handled properly — others clearly are not. But seeing the meltdown has a rubbernecking appeal and examples keep piling up.
As for Boyd, to be fair, he did not quit on air. In fact, Inside Edition showed a nice tribute to his 13 years there, and his co-host Diane McInerney said a tearful goodbye.
He told B&C that he has a strong relationship with his former bosses and still considers them friends. Inside Edition had no comment on the video.
Boyd did, however, use a video platform to tell his own story in his own way — in his case, a rap video.
Nothing wrong with that. Boyd had built up a following during his time at Inside Edition and therefore wanted to let his supporters and fans know about his new project. He had the good sense not to create a scene on air during Inside Edition, so while his rap video is not going viral anytime soon, at least he won’t have an on-air F-bomb to explain on his next job interview. He came across as professional in his departure, albeit a little silly in the rap video, though that’s all in the game for attracting attention on YouTube for his new digital venture, OPEN.TV.
“We thought a rap video would be a lighthearted way to connect with our audience,” Boyd said. “Our new content is going to be optimized for social and highly sharable so we wanted to get started with something energetic and fun.”
With the financial struggles and pressures of syndication and newsmagazines, he is certainly part of a larger trend and deserved the right to give his account of why he quit. Putting up the video on a site like YouTube fits that ethos.
He won’t get the same publicity he might have gotten from a dramatic on-air exit from CBS, but Boyd showed you can tell your story and have some fun without burning bridges. Now, about that rap career…