KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The New McCarthyism, Take 4

From fellow freelancer Bob Bohle, about copy editor Tim Mahoney's suspension from the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

Most newsworkers try to avoid situations that even hint at a bias. It is one of the unfortunate things about being a journalist: one often can't (shouldn't?) join organizations that one may have to cover objectively or edit objectively because of the potential for bias in coverage.

I worked with an editor who would stand up and leave a social dinner party if someone started talking about something he might have to cover. That may be overkill, but many journalists feel very strongly about this. Some papers even have written policies covering such activities.

From the ethics code of the Society of Professional Journalists:
  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
Without credibility, newspapers have nothing.

I am, however, a little surprised at the harshness of the reaction, especially for a relatively "invisible" part-time copy editor (compared to a reporter, who is probably more widely known).

Note: Bob Bohle is a journalism professor, freelance writer, and blogger.

The New McCarthyism Take 2 Take 3 Take 4 Take 5 Take 6 Take 7

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