Appeals court sides with newspaper in labor fight

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has sided with the publisher the Santa Barbara News-Press in a long-running labor dispute between the newspaper and reporters who were fired after they complained about its editorial practices.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit says the newspaper was protected by the First Amendment when it dismissed eight reporters and disciplined others who claimed the newspaper's owner was interfering with news coverage.

The reporters claimed they were illegally fired for union activity and legitimate complaints about their terms of employment. But the court found the dispute was all about editorial control.

The ruling stems from a newsroom dispute that began in 2006. Nearly every top editor at the paper quit in protest over what they said was the owner's meddling in news coverage.

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