Jul 29, 2009

One last question... any job openings?

This post from David Carr comes a year or two year too late, but the point he makes, riffing on the apparently false accusation that a New York Daily News sports reporter used his position to try to get a job with the NY Mets baseball team, is worth considering:
As newspaper people search for an exit from an industry that is rapidly shrinking, their beats would seem to be a fertile place to look for a job. Asked about the episode, Stephen J. A. Ward, the director at the Center for Journalism Ethics at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Wisconsin, wrote in an email that he expects it will be a growing problem.

“It is very likely that more conflicts of interest (and concerns about journalistic independence) will arise in the months and years ahead because of the changing nature of journalism and its economic base,” he wrote. ...

And it’s even more scary once you run the scenario beyond the cozy confines of baseball. Reporters are covering government officials all over the country. What if, instead of reporting out corruption and mis-and-malfeasance on their beat, a reporter in imminent danger of layoff suggested to the targets that she or he could help fix the problem from the inside rather than writing a big old expose about it?
Also worth considering: Taking a job with the industry one covers is not a new phenomenon nor is it unethical on its face. The worry here is that desperation could lead to some bad decisions.

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