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Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 10, 2012 10:14AM
As I've noted here, a family member is a journalist (the real kind,,, U Mo. J-school trained and 20+ years experience). His political reportage is quite good (I've read a lot of his stuff just to keep in touch), and he's highly regarded by both political parties in his area as being very balanced.

So what's the cost ?

He has not registered as having a party affiliation. He says it's not ethical. As a result he has never voted in a single primary election. And in his area, most of the local elections are uncontested by the other party, so the primary is the *only* local election possible.

I have the greatest respect for true journalists.

FWIW, he personally is quite 'liberal' and self-identifies quite heavily with the Democratic party. But it does *not* come out in his reportage.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: graylocks
Date: April 10, 2012 10:20AM
although i can understand where he is coming from it seems sad that in order to be regarded as reporting on democracy fairly one cannot participate in it fully.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 10, 2012 10:35AM
I totally disagree with this idea and I guarantee the Founding Fathers would, too. If you have opinions and cannot control them enough to write an objective news story, then this means you are in fact NOT a good journalist. Not exercising the right to vote doesn't prove you are objective, it just proves you don't want to get jury duty.



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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: graylocks
Date: April 10, 2012 10:44AM
Quote
$tevie
I totally disagree with this idea and I guarantee the Founding Fathers would, too. If you have opinions and cannot control them enough to write an objective news story, then this means you are in fact NOT a good journalist. Not exercising the right to vote doesn't prove you are objective, it just proves you don't want to get jury duty.

actually, i think cbelt3 says his friend has not voted in a primary election where i think you have to choose a party affiliation in most states. in the general election you don't have to declare a party so i assumed his friend votes then.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: billb
Date: April 10, 2012 10:45AM
If that works for him and it's a personal choice, what's the problem ?

If you register as undeclared in some states you don't get to participate in primaries too.
It's a personal choice.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 10, 2012 10:56AM
The point was that he made this personal sacrifice to AVOID the type of ad hominem attacks people would make on his reporting.

The 'Oh, you're a Democrat. That explains why you reported THAT way."

It says a lot os positive about his ethics, and a lot of negative about the general use of ad hominem arguments elsewhere.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 10, 2012 11:04AM
I'm sorry. I cannot be swayed. I think it's ludicrous.

Also, please make up your mind. Is it because "he thinks it's not ethical" to belong to a party or because he is trying to "avoid ad hominem attacks"?







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2012 11:11AM by $tevie.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: davester
Date: April 10, 2012 11:20AM
It's got nothing to do with being ethical and has everything to do with hiding your political positions from your readership. I'd say that on the ethics scale that was lower down than if you were up front about where you stood.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2012 11:23AM by davester.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 10, 2012 11:27AM
OMG, the point is that a professional journalist ought to be able to keep it a mystery where they stand -- or, if circumstances dictate that they cannot or should not, that they include a disclaimer that they are writing opinion and not journalism. Allowing the people who blather about media bias to control one's life is pathetic.



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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 10, 2012 12:09PM
$tevie-

I'll defer to his professionalism. Once you're registered with one party or another, you become a name on a million mailing and telephone lists. If you want to keep your politics to yourself, not registering a party is the only way.

Ask me how I feel about the campaign calls for various Republican candidates. They *all* have my number.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: $tevie
Date: April 10, 2012 12:10PM
I wish I never saw this thread.



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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 10, 2012 12:21PM
$tevie-
I guess we're not understanding each other ?

He sees it as a way to avoid allowing his writing to be attacked based on his personal politics. This is something he does. His editor did not insist.

I think if more professional reporters thought this way, then the 'media bias' would be less of an issue.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: April 10, 2012 12:32PM
By applauding his "professionalism" I suppose you mean to suggest that reporters who do exercise their fundamental right to vote are "unprofessional."

WRONG. Just about all of us vote. We don't talk about it much.

If he doesn't want to vote for some reason that's fine, but don't use it to suggest bias among other reporters, because that's where you are going.

At most news orgs if you betray a bias you are moved to another beat or out of the organization entirely. Fox and MSNBC are notable exceptions to that rule. The Manchester Union Leader and the Chicago Tribune used to be. But I am tired of the notion that a reporter with opinions can't possibly report. That's like saying that all scientists conduct their research to support their various odd hypotheses. With very few exceptions that doesn't happen.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 10, 2012 12:44PM
Gute... Quite the opposite. He's just not public with his affiliation and opinions. I agree whole heartedly with you. And $tevie.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: the_poochies
Date: April 10, 2012 12:44PM
My first job after college was that as a local newspaper reporter. It was fun, but the pay was horrible....probably below minimum wage if you divided my hours worked by my weekly salary. That was the true "cost" of working in such a poor-paying industry.

The owner and editor were extremely conservative, but I was impressed that they let me write an editorial criticizing attempts by the GOP-controlled state legislature to repeal my state's strict band on assault weapons.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: April 10, 2012 12:55PM
If I were a reporter in a public position (the politics beat), I would also be an "unenrolled" voter. why give enemies something to harangue you with? - and by enemies, I refer to other people in the same organization or potential employers.

btw, this is a small price to pay if you go this route. the much harder one would be to not get involved in local or federal races and not to donate to any campaigns under any circumstance.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/10/2012 12:57PM by mrbigstuff.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: April 10, 2012 01:03PM
Well, now, that is something that reporters on any beat never do--we don't campaign and we don't donate to political campaigns or orgs with a political bent. We are even careful about causes. Look at the way Komen became political. There was even a political kerfuffle over the animal shelter here in town. You can quietly support but you can't advocate.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: April 10, 2012 02:22PM
Gute-
Amen and good on 'ya. There's just too many folk calling themselves "Reporters" who don't have even the vaguest understanding of journalistic ethics. *cough* *Bloggers* *hack*..
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: April 10, 2012 02:29PM
I spent 30 years as a journalist before retiring from one of the top papers in the nation and the largest in the SE United States.

Many of our staff did not join a political party instead registering as independents. Like your family member, they did not want to give either side a reason to question objectivity. most would then get blasted as bias by both sides for the same article (a true sign that the reporting was objective.

The paper did not require it but it did have other requirements --

News staff could not participate in any election - that included not having any yard signs or bumper stickers on cars driven to work (spouses cars were exempt). No campaign donations (which are public record in Florida). No campaign work - including gathering signatures. Staff could not sign support papers for a candidate or cause. The paper paid for any coverage costs - if that meant paying for a rubber chicken dinner (at true cost, not inflated be seen with the candidate cost), or travel fare on a campaign plane or bus - it was paid. No gratis allowed

Those were the ones that come to mind, some seemed overboard but it served a purpose.

Sports writers had thew same rules applied to the teams they covered. The paper had five season tickets to all the professional (3-4) and college teams (3) we covered. They were only used for the photographers working on the field and the reports in the press box. An additional amount was given to cover any food that might be consumed. Individual tickets were purchased for away games. If games were sold out, the money was just given to the team.

It is not hard to be objective, it is hard and costly to show objectivity.



You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands...
- For example, if they are wrapped around your throat she's probably slightly upset.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: Gutenberg
Date: April 10, 2012 02:33PM
Bloggers are a problem but they're not educated. Most of them don't know what they should be doing. I think most of them care about ethics and fairness but various elements, including bloggers themselves, have made ethics and fairness a moving target. You don't need to have a degree--you just have to ask yourself, is it factual, is it fair, is it essential? Yes to all three and you are good to go.

Commentary nearly always is folderol, and I think one of our problems as a citizenry is we confuse commentary with reportage. They are very very very very different, and very few reporters successfully cross the bridge to commentary. I can't think of a single commentarian who is a decent reporter.
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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: Uncle Wig
Date: April 10, 2012 03:17PM
Ombligo, thanks for the enlightening post.



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Re: Interesting side note... the cost of being a reporter.
Posted by: davester
Date: April 10, 2012 06:29PM
Quote
Gutenberg
Commentary nearly always is folderol, and I think one of our problems as a citizenry is we confuse commentary with reportage. They are very very very very different, and very few reporters successfully cross the bridge to commentary. I can't think of a single commentarian who is a decent reporter.

Part of the problem is that Fox News has spearheaded the effort to deliberately conflate the two for the purpose of propagandizing. Even their name suggests that they are primarily a news reporting organization. I don't know if they are the first large organization to do this, but they are definitely the most effective and now I think we see other news organizations following their lead...a very bad thing IMHO.




"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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