Biz journalist: Integrity more important than speaking fees
Amanda Lang, a business journalist for CBC in Canada, responds in a Globe & Mail column to allegations that she attempted to kill a story about Royal Bank because she has accepting fees for speaking at one of its events and has a relationship with one of its directors.
Lang writes, “The exact allegation is this: that I intervened to affect a story the CBC was pursuing because I have accepted speaking fees from the Royal Bank – directly or indirectly. The accusation is that I sought to relieve the Royal Bank from criticism because of a personal financial interest. Some have even suggested that, because of a personal relationship with a director of the bank, that my questions about the report were due to that personal interest. It has been further implied that I intentionally kept these interests concealed. These are very serious allegations. If any of them were true, it would be an extremely serious matter. But they are not true. Let me repeat: they are not, in any fashion, true.
“Yes, when asked (in fact, invited on to a conference call I did not instigate), I expressed my view – informed by my familiarity with the issue – with colleagues at the CBC. As a matter of editorial opinion, I felt the story was flawed and that it reflected a misunderstanding of important subject elements. In this, I meant (or mean) no disrespect. That opinion was a consequence of my time and experience as a business reporter – and nothing else. I did not attempt to block the story from airing, as has been implied by some reports. Indeed, it was aired. As the CBC’s senior business correspondent, I would argue that I have an obligation to challenge such stories. Similarly, others with whom I work have an obligation to challenge my stories, check my assumptions and question my understanding of all relevant facts.
“It did not occur to me that others would question my motivation. That they would raise doubts about my integrity. That they would believe my perspective on this story was affected, for example, either by a relationship or by the fact that I have spoken for pay at events organized by business groups and companies.”
Read more here.