25 Gannett Wisconsin Media Journalists Caught Signing Petition to Recall Governor Walker

March 25th, 2012 8:05 AM

How pathetic is this?

It was reported Saturday that 25 Gannett Wisconsin Media journalists have been reprimanded for signing petitions to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker:

Today, in the interest of full transparency, we are informing you that 25 Gannett Wisconsin Media journalists, including nine at the P-C, also signed the Walker recall petitions. It was wrong, and those who signed were in breach of Gannett's Principles of Ethical Conduct for Newsrooms

"P-C" stands for Post-Crescent which is one of the papers in Appleton, Wisconsin.

According to Gannett Blog, the paper's managing editor sent an email message about this matter Friday asking employees not to "respond to any media requests or other communication you might receive from outside our office in relation to this matter."

That's called damage control.

Genia Lovett, the Post-Crescent's president and publisher told her readers Saturday:

All Gannett journalists are trained on and expected to follow the company's principles of ethical conduct. The 32 principles include these six that are directly relevant to the recall petition issue:

» We will remain free of outside interests, investments or business relationships that may compromise the credibility of our news report.

» We will maintain an impartial, arm's length relationship with anyone seeking to influence the news.

» We will avoid potential conflicts of interest and eliminate inappropriate influence on content.

» We will take responsibility for our decisions and consider the possible consequences of our actions.

» We will be conscientious in observing these principles.

» We will always try to do the right thing.

A Gannett journalist cannot uphold these principles and at the same time post a candidate's sign in the yard, or sign a candidate's nomination papers, or join a campaign rally, or sign a petition advocating a recall election.

Great principles indeed.

Maybe Lovett should send them to employees of every media organization to remind them of their responsibilities to the public as well.

(H/T Dan Gainor)