KFnet in T-Town

Feb. 6, 2008 at 5:15pm

News Tribune's Zeeck Earns Scrammie

Appears for his clarifying piece on why TNT reporters aren't allowed to participate in our state's primary or caucus process David Zeeck has earned himself a Schrammie. I understand the basics of trying to stay unbiased but how would it make you feel? Here's a snip from the article:

We ask our newsroom staff not to participate in any [political] party activities. For anyone covering anything even remotely political or for any supervising editor in the newsroom, participation in caucuses or primaries is prohibited.

For staffers who neither cover nor edit anything political we strongly discourage them from participating. If they do participate, we require them to tell us of their participation so we can make sure they aren’t involved in any political coverage or in any decisions about political coverage.

To be a journalist at The News Tribune, one surrenders some privileges. Political activism is out.

Any other Schrammie-worthy folks here in Tacoma? Seems our beloved Tacomic might be a good place to start.

Thanks Mark!

comments [4]  |  posted under editor, news tribune, schrammie, tacoma


by Erik on 2/6/2008 @ 5:36pm
I saw an article on the issue comparing different newspapers around the country. The Tribune has taken one of the hardest stances. Other newspapers, staff can still vote in primaries, they just cannot caucus.

Its hard to see how a secret ballot can cause the appearance of bias on the reporters part.

by sjducky on 2/6/2008 @ 6:15pm
Staffers were also asked to not donate to any campaigns, but they should have realized that that e-mail was overdue. At least a few staffers have already donated to campaigns (by purchasing support items like signs and buttons or just giving money) and a few others filled out their absentee primary ballots Saturday when they arrived and mailed them back the same day.

Of course, some just plain aren't happy about it...

Perhaps they should do a little more advance planning next presidential election.

by jenyum on 2/6/2008 @ 6:31pm
That's pretty extreme.

by Erik on 2/6/2008 @ 6:51pm
Here's the Seattle Times, they smartly differentiate between a caucus and primary voting:

But I’m a political reporter and cover the parties and the candidates. Should the same rules apply to everyone in the newsroom? The Times is making a distinction. People involved in political coverage are prohibited from participating, others are told, “we would rather you didn’t participate.” Boardman wrote:

The Denver Post allows reporters to even participate in the caucus:

While attending a caucus could raise questions about your impartiality as a journalist, I realize it is a right to participate in our democratic process.

So, with certain exceptions, we will not prohibit folks from attending the caucuses.


They even give guidelines for participating in a caucus:

While some of you may participate in the caucuses, you will NOT be permitted to be a delegate to any county, state or national convention. I hope you recall that all vacations and leaves are cancelled as we ready ourselves to cover the Democratic National Convention. There will be no exceptions.

They theny conclude:

I am trying my best to be sensitive to individual rights while at the same time protecting the credibility of the paper and our ability to continue to cover politics as best and as fair as possible.

Thus, the Tribune appears to be on the extreme of the various choices newspapers are taking. How will it effect the election? I am not sure it matters. The question is weather placing more restrictions on political participation of employees is more or less ethical.

Arguments to be made on both sides of the issue.


Although I have another home on the web I thought it might be nice to lead by example a bit and put this blog system up to the test myself.

So far, so good... Funny how I build web tools for other people that are far better than the one's I have setup over on KFnet.


Hey Clear Channel, Clean Up Your Crap!

Advantage: Tacoma

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