Journalists’ contributions to politicians

Washington Post looks at the political contributions made by journalists including some well-known celebrity journalists. This story raises difficult questions for news organizations and its watchers. Many news organizations strongly discourage editorial staff from making contributions, particularly if they cover those areas, but they may not actually prohibit it.

The NY Times, for example, only last year began prohibiting newsroom employees from contributing to political parties and campaigns. People on editorial staffs often want to make contributions to feel like they’re doing something instead of standing on the sidelines.

Another journalism ethics decision came last week when CNBC barred news staff and managers and their spouses and dependents from owning individual stocks and corporate bonds. Part-time employees, such as James Cramer, were excluded from the new rules. Enforcing the rule on spouses may generate friction, either in the family or in the newsroom.

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