Tuesday I'm in Pickerington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, to lead a daylong "citizen journalism" training workshop. Undoubtedly the meltdown at the Plain Dealer will be one of the topics of conversation. Noteworthy links:
Wide Open blog bumps up against journalistic ethics: Cleveland Reader Rep Ted Diadiun explains how "The Plain Dealer got itself spattered by some primordial ooze last week" and concludes with "You can't contribute to a political candidate and then write about his or her campaign, either as an employee or as a paid free-lancer for The Plain Dealer, on paper or online. Period."
Jeff Jarvis responds: "The problem, in my view, is that Diadiun isn’t listening and learning. That, you’d think, would be the fundamental qualification for his job. ... Diadiun just defends the paper against an accusation of buckling to political pressure and lashes out at the bloggers as aliens to the newspaper ways."
Jay Rosen says:"If you’re caught up in a situation that appears to pit journalists with ethics against bloggers who ain’t got none, you may actually be facing a conflict between one ethic and another, and it would be good to find out what the “other” is before deciding what to do."
My favorite, though, is a buried comment on Jarvis' site from Jill Miller Zimon observing that she's written Plain Dealer op-ed pieces many times, and never has been asked whether she has donated to anyone's political campaigns, or advised of any policy against it.
Related items: MSNBC's list of journalists who have contributed to candidates and a rundown of varying policies regarding political activity.