One of the Daily Mail’s most senior feature writers described the paper as a “dystopia” and a “rough house” after being given her marching orders this week. And she predicted that a forthcoming documentary about the paper is likely to “open a can of worms”.
Jane Kelly, who has been with the paper for 15 years, said she was summoned by email to see managing editor Lawrie Sear while on her way to the cinema on Friday.
“He said this is going to be a difficult conversation, things just aren’t working out,” she said.
The £65,000-a-year writer said she wasn’t given a specific reason, but was offered a cash payoff and told to get in touch with a lawyer.
She said: “It comes as a great shock to me – I feel I have given good service for all these years.”
Kelly said she was given a written warning last week because she disagreed with changes which had been made to one of her stories. She said she did not accept the warning and heard no more after asking to discuss it further.
The contentious story was headlined “Midget Mayhem” and was about the sordid private lives of the dwarves who starred in the Wizard of Oz.
Kelly has been a journalist for 20 years and previously worked for Today and the Mail on Sunday.
She predicted that a documentary by Alastair Campbell’s partner Fiona Millar about the Mail is to go ahead despite being dropped by Channel Four. And she said it would reveal: “The tempers, the fear, the violence.”
But she added that overall: “It is a good place to work – it’s a rough house but I didn’t mind that.”
Kelly, who plans to go freelance, said: “The great dystopia has slung me out and I feel I’ve everything to live for.”
The Mail declined to comment.
By Dominic Ponsford