The Mixing of Personal Politics and Professional Reporting

It’s been over eight-years now since being fired for personally blogging my political opinion while working as a newspaper reporter. Labeled ‘unethical,’ I was subject of conversation at the local university and the world-wide web.

I honestly don’t think a reporter should be separated from their opinion, but I also believe it is up to the reporter to make certain their opinion is separate from the non-private work they present.

Recently, KOLO-TV’s Sarah Johns, had to remove a Facebook posting that supported a California friend’s political campaign. Someone wrote an email to her station manager complaining, and Sarah being the professional that she is, did as asked.

Her co-worker, Amanda Sanchez was possibly in the toughest position when it came to reporting local political news. Her sister Hillary Schieve is now Reno’s new mayor-elect and not once did I ever hear Amanda speak about her sis’ campaign.

There is also the case of KRNV’s Jon Ralston who used his television show and his blog to slam attorney general-elect Adam Laxalt time and again during this campaign season. Ralston never mentioned once his relationship with former Governor Bob Miller, the father of Laxalt’s opponent, Ross Miller.

In his autobiography, “Son of a Gambling Man,” the former governor thanked Ralston for his writing help:

“Importantly, I also thank my friend Jon Ralston… I am so honored that Jon agreed to help me in this endeavor. He provided immense help in shaping my unrefined vision of the parallels between my life’s progression and that of Nevada. He played an invaluable role in transforming a very raw draft into my life story. I deeply appreciate his help… I certainly owe him thanks for his instrumental assistance in the pages that follow…”

Finally, KTVN’s Erin Breen’s look at the various local and statewide political ads, was the best this campaign season. She went neither left nor right when it came to reviewing the facts (and fiction) of each commercial.

Sometimes the line is very clear — sometimes it ain’t.

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