Saturday, 9 February 2008

Stephenville, Texas UFO - Empire Tribune Writer Silenced!!

I'm sure that by now everyone is fully aware of the recent Stephenville UFO sightings, the reason you will know most of what you do is down to the tenacity, integrity and honesty of a reporter for the local paper (The Empire Tribune).

I'm talking about, Angelia Joiner (ex-staff writer).

Over the course of the last month, Angelia has endeared herself to all of the Texas UFO witnesses by providing them with support, acting as a confidante and giving them a much needed voice by telling their stories in her articles.

Here are a couple of emails that Angelia exchanged with the Admin (Bren Burton) of the Open Minds Forum. While Angelia didn't post the messages to the forum personally she gave Bren permission for them to be posted (7th February 2008).

"I think my readers would find a lot more of this sort of story interesting but my newspaper doesn't want any more stories. My boss feels it's time to move on. A city councilman here talked to the Star-Telegram and said the whole thing was an embarrassment to the town (or something to that effect.).

It has been a tough decision but I gave my two weeks notice last Thursday and my last day will be Feb. 14. At that time, I will be unemployed so I probably will substitute teach for a while.[...]

I joined your group because I was so impressed with how nice the men were to offer to help Ricky Sorrells. I don't know how that went yesterday but I could see they were sincerely concerned about him and his situation. That was impressive and I like people that care about others.

[...] I don't want to say anything bad about the newspaper. They are just not interested any more. But it was a record sales month in the history of the E-T for JAN. so I feel good about that.

It's funny how one day I was sitting on top of a huge global story and practically the next I'm looking for a job.'s full of surprises. And, I think that's a good thing. Here's hoping there is something better around the corner.

"I gave two weeks notice but this morning they had confiscated my computer and I was told to pack up and get out. I'm devastated and still in shock.

I was trying to direct people away from talking to me about UFOs and other information during work hours and I had forwarded emails to my home computer so I would not be dealing with that on newspaper time. But, apparently that wasn't the right thing to do either.

I've just been between a rock and a hard spot if you know what I mean.

The publisher said she didn't want me to leave with ill feelings toward the newspaper and I'm trying not to. I'm grateful for the opportunity the newspaper gave me in employing me as a writer. I have only been writing for them 18 months and I've learned a lot but I still have a lot more to learn."

Angelia Joiner - email to Admin/Bren Burton

Source – Open Minds Forum

Just a glance at the headlines (and the leading paragraph/s) is enough to confirm that there is something sadly amiss. Here are some recent articles that she wrote for the Empire Tribune:

Japan interested in UFO sighting - Friday, January 25, 2008
‘Funny lightning' leads to video - Sunday, January 27, 2008
Pilots dispute military statement - Sunday, January 27, 2008
Brazilian news crew investigates sightings - Monday, January 28, 2008
Science club shirts are a hit! - Thursday, January 31, 2008
UFO witness claims harassment - Sunday, February 3, 2008
More twists in the Sorrells' saga - Monday, February 4, 2008

(And here's the only article wrote about the incident since her departure)
Don't look, Ethel! - Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Japan interested in UFO sighting

Friday, January 25, 2008
Steve Allen is haggard. He's hardly sleeping and his mug is becoming familiar on news programs all over the world. Still, he's not given up on his quest for video or photos of what he says was an unidentified flying object he saw with friends on the evening of Jan. 8. The sighting was so odd it defies explanation, and he's been heard to say over and over, “It definitely wasn't from these parts. The military only wishes they had something like that…..Videos are starting to come out,” Allen said. “I've gotten about ten but only two are worth anything.”

‘Funny lightning' leads to video

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Stephenville resident David Caron said it was his seven-year-old grandson, Jeremiah that first alerted him to “funny lightning in the sky.” “That was on Friday evening, January 18,” Caron said. “I went out and saw the skies were clear, you know, he's just a kid. I didn't think that much about it.” It wasn't until the next night that Caron realized exactly why his grandson made the comment and what he meant when he said, “Papa come look. There's funny lightning in the sky.”

Pilots dispute military statement

Sunday, January 27, 2008

At least three pilots in Stephenville disagree with the military's press release issued Wednesday. Steve Allen, Don “Doc” Stewart and Todd Downs all say if Stephenville and the Selden area are in the Brownwood Military Operating Area, it's news to them.

Brazilian news crew investigates sightings

Monday, January 28, 2008

If anyone in the world hasn't heard of Stephenville , Texas , it could only be for one reason - they're not listening. Stephenville continues to capture national and international attention with news crews coming from all over the world. Last weekend, a Brazilian news crew came, while another is expected to come from Japan .

Science club shirts are a hit!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

The community went wild over UFO T-shirts designed by Pam Kinsel and Abby Cranford, both juniors, for the Stephenville High School Science Club. According to Kimberlea Adams, teacher and club sponsor, 1,200 shirts were pre-sold at $10 each. “We have raised more than $4,000 for scholarships,” Adams said. “We will award a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving senior this year and for the next three years.”

UFO witness claims harassment

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Ricky Sorrells is frustrated and a little angry. Since his interview with the Associated Press, Sorrells has stayed quiet regarding the daytime UFO sightings on his property near Dublin . And, there is more than one reason for his silence. Sorrells believes military officials have been harassing him by flying military aircraft over his property at low altitudes, at all hours of the day and night. Sorrells runs livestock on his place and said the cattle don't react well to the disturbances. It's also been hard to get any sleep.

More twists in the Sorrells' saga

Monday, February 4, 2008

Answers: Ricky Sorrells just wants answers. And, in light of what he's been through, it doesn't seem to be a lot to ask. Witnessing an unidentified flying object four times since the beginning of the new year, then having military aircraft whizzing over his land and disrupting his sleep and livestock, followed by a string of mysterious phone calls and in person encounters from individuals demanding he “shut up” about what he saw, and landing unexpectedly in the international spotlight, has taken a toll on the 37-year-old man accustomed to the simple life.

(And here's the only article wrote about the incident since her departure)

Don't look, Ethel!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Erath County , an hour's drive southwest of Fort Worth , is known for cow-milkin' and Dr Pepper-drinkin'. Locals think that when media folks land there in numbers, they're “sniffing out” whatever the college kids at Tarleton are up to. But, times they are a changin'. Something big, fast and mysterious streaked across the night sky there recently, and some 50 people saw it. They're ruling out just one possibility-it was NOT the cow jumping over the moon. Whatever it was has perked up the economy a “right smart,” as my old mama would say....

Source – Empire Tribune

To be fair, the last article (Don't look, Ethel!) doesn't dispute any of the earlier evidence, nor does it disagree that something was definitely witnessed in the skies over Texas, but what it does do is present the events in what is presumably thought to be from a less confrontational viewpoint. It's this diluted, trivialised style of presentation that has served only to add the, “Giggle factor” to media reports on the UFO phenomenon and detract from what the real issues are and further destroy what little credibility the subject currently has. I should also point out that NO references are made to any of the original witnesses, and perhaps more noticeably there's no reference to the plight of Ricky Sorrells.

The last two stories about the UFO incident that Angelia Joiner had published were direct witness statements relating to how Ricky Sorrels was being subjected to cowardly, underhand and despicable scare tactics in an effort to intimidate him by (one can only assume) whichever faction of the government and/or military deals with harassing innocent citizens.

The articles reported facts that included low flying military craft over his property at all hours, strange and threatening telephone calls from people who knew more that they would tell and made threats like, “Son, we have the same calibre weapons as you do but a lot more of them.” Also shadowy figures making themselves known on his property in the middle of the night. (It is thought that the shadowy figure left a little message for Ricky in the form of a bullet as it was found at the spot the stranger was lurking). If ever it sounded like someone needed reassurance and a way to voice his experiences, it was Ricky Sorrells.

I don't doubt for a second that the decision to confiscate her computer and ask her to leave the premises had nothing to do with her immediate superiors other than their compliancy with whomever applied the pressure, that still in no way absolves them of blame, neither does it justify their actions in any way, shape or form.

The decision seems particularly unjust when you consider that it's these same people who have obviously authorised the articles for publication in the first place. Angelia has said in a subsequent post at the Open Minds Forum that (8th February 2008):

“What made yesterday so shocking was the fact that I considered my bosses (publisher and editor) friends, too. I was made to feel like a criminal and I don't think I deserved that. In a small setting you get close to the people you work for and I just never expected what happened and was (and still am) completely baffled.”

If the letters section of the Empire Tribune is any reliable gauge of the feelings of the readership then they seem to not only be embracing the current situation but they are positively enthusiastic about it.

Letter To the editor,
Sunday, January 27,
Need a little good news today? Well, it has come from your very own hometown. In a world beset by an unrelenting stream of bad things from Baghdad to Wall Street, Stephenville somehow brought a smile to the world at large. With the recent UFO sightings in these parts, the average person could grin for a brief moment and then wonder about the possibilities of the universe.

Whether you believe that we are alone or not in this vast cosmos is not the point. It's how we reacted to the moment. If people all around the globe, hearing of what one little town deep in the heart of Texas experienced, looked up into their night sky and perhaps pondered, however briefly, that we are all not that much different, good for us. If one little speck on the world map could perhaps embrace something from another world, there is hope.

Evidently their soaring sales, massive spike in web activity and encouraging a greater sense of community within their readership doesn't mean a great deal. This certainly begs the question of exactly which agenda are they working from as they obviously aren't aiming for increased sales and they don't appear to be listening to or accommodating the wishes of their readership, the good people of Stephenville.

Remember Angelia Joiner was just the messenger, doing the job she was paid to do, the job she was asked to do. Because she doesn't compromise her ethics, because Angelia Joiner genuinely cares about the witnesses (and what happens to them AFTER they talk to her) because she strives for the truth so that she may share it with us all, it seems that the these traits make her an expendable asset, when it should really make her indispensable to all except the most corrupt and biased of organisations, but more than that, these traits should make people like Angela Joiner a necessity.

In fact, if these are not the character traits that the Empire Tribune actively encourages and demands from their staff, what traits exactly do they feel are becoming of a reporter? What could they be if not integrity, loyalty and honesty? And more importantly why should anyone trust anything that is printed by a media organisation whose ethics, values and morals are not only flexible but apparently negotiable?

I strongly feel that the actions of Angelias’ employers is tantamount to persecution of the most heinous nature, a persecution borne out of her perseverance in her relentless search for the truth, whatever that may be and wherever that may lead. There’s no doubt about it, irrespective of whose decision this ultimately was the action of firing Angelina speaks louder than any words and I’m sure everyone will agree that the loss is that of The Empire Tribunes much more than it’s Angelia Joiners.

I’m sure Angelia won’t be out of work long but the entire episode is just an extremely sad portrayal of the media in general and it most certainly leads this observer to ask the question of who exerted the pressure, or more importantly from where did this pressure originate…..

Open Minds Forum
Empire Tribune


M.N. said...

The following was included in the original article, due to not wanting to further inflame the situation for Ms Joiner I removed it. I am adding it as a comment so it’s not immediately viewable from the main page.
Whether you’ve followed the story since the start, only read one or two articles, or if this recent debacle is your introduction to it, I urge you to contact the publisher and the editor at the Empire Tribune and voice your concerns at their decision to silence Angelia Joiner and consequently silence the Stephenville community. They need to know that this unwarranted suppression hasn’t gone unnoticed, let them know that their actions are under public scrutiny as they should be, and let them know that ultimately they are accountable for their own decisions.

Their contact details are as follows:

Rochelle Stidham
254-968-2379 Ext. 225

Sara Vanden Berge
254-965-3124 Ext. 240

BLASe said...

Very well said in this blog. Angelia may have been silenced at the Empire Tribune, but blogs such as this one will not be silenced. It is very important to get this out to the world in any way we can. What has happened to Angelia is just more proof on the cover up by the government and it isn't the first time this has happened to someone like her. The difference is, she didn't cave. Thank you Angelia.

UFO's And The Star People

stfrequency said...

Thanks for this update, and your sincere concern for both Ms. Joiner and the integrity of the media at large.

I have just published an article that explores the Stephenville case and the media frenzy that followed it. I hope your readers will find it interesting.


manuel said...

What a terrific article. I am shocked at what happened as everyone is.No history of problems with her employer, no badmouthing after she left, and considering the exposure she got for them The Empire should be gleeful. After all they one of about 50 are owned by american media company which was bough out by the Australian media cartel. Normally the bottomline is the dollar. And with newspaper sales down across the country these jackasses are doing the opposite of what they should be doing..promoting great news reporting and making investors happy! Yes something really is wrong with this one I agree Wholeheartedly..

from wikipedia
American Consolidated Media Company Description
American Consolidated Media owns and operates about 40 local community newspapers and related print publications, primarily in small-to-medium markets in Texas and Oklahoma. Its portfolio includes about a half dozen daily papers and 20 weekly editions. Jeremy Halbreich, former general manager of the Dallas Morning News, founded American Consolidated Media in 1998. The company was acquired in 2007 by Macquarie Media, an affiliate of Australian financial services giant Macquarie Bank, unquote

which with recent senate media legislation will be really gobbling up more US news outlets. the result being a whole lot more than less

Perhaps they want to promote just two headed cows and and six legged frogs..and the city council motions for a new dummying down of America, with no news is good news their prime directive..shame on them

Kudos Doc on the post


manuel said...

correction to above.. "a whole lot more of less ".like the ..another Australian outfit..or less like a lot more reality tv which made its way into AE once a a very high brow network with its history channel because it had more British its declined in quality..using other sources which are cheaper..from like.Aus,,.well I wont say..after all business is business..

we are paying a high price for less

Martha Jette said...

I truly feel for Angelia. Some years ago, I was ousted from a newspaper for covering a story that involved a paranormal event.

When will newspapers wake up to what is really happening both in our skies and below? It seems they don't even cover much news anymore. Do they really think we care what Britney Spears is doing day and night? I don't think so!

I wish I could get in touch with Angelia to express my thoughts personally with her.

Take care,

Martha Jette said...

Just adding my reference sites, as I want to follow up on this discussion.

BLASe said...

oops sorry about the last message and the link. Anyway, I am sure you can get to the open minds forum. :)

BLASe said...

Here is a great place to post your support.

The Empire Tribune Guest Book

maxillya said...

Angelia Joiner is a great writer, and a brave reporter.

Her collegues, though, are a different story, and the publisher and owner of Empire State Tribune are the cancer of the newspaper business.

Newspaper blame the internet for losing business; it isn't, its the political bending of truth, which is causing them to die, and its hoped the Empire State Tribune, and its owners will die and soon

Matthew said...

Something interesting I found… One of Angelia’s new witnesses is Mike Zimmerman. Angelia states that, “To date, Zimmerman may be the most credible witness to come forward…” Which at first seems true, he served on Protective Detail for five Texas Governors and is now attached to the Tarleton State University detail, but I’m afraid Mr Zimmerman in fact has no credibility…

A quick search on Angelia’s bio made available on her website, lists her husbands name as Randell Joiner. A quick Google search on “randell joiner stephenville” pulls up this article on the Tarleton State University website.

This is not to say that Ms Joiner is not credible, but the fact that her husband appears to work on the same campus as her ‘most credible witness’ discredits any information provided in her article.

Chuck said...

Is it just a coincindence that Randy Sorrels and TSGT. Chuck Sorrels both have the same last name and both are involved in UFO cases.

SGT. Chuck Sorrels was in the Tower of Edwards AFB in October of 1965 when he and many others observed 7 UFO's flying around restricted air space from about 1:30 in the morning until 6:30.

It would be interesting to know if they are related.