OLD Media Moves

A biz journalist who doesn’t vote

November 4, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Colin Pope, the editor of the Austin Business Journal in Texas, writes about his no-voting policy.

Pope writes, “I started the no-voting practice in the 1990s when I was assigned to the City Hall beat at a daily newspaper. I was uncomfortable with the expectation of fairly covering politics professionally, and then personally I was allowed to pick sides. Wouldn’t that jeopardize, or at least slow down, my ability to report objectively? There’s little worse than a biased journalist so I recused myself from the political process as a precaution. At first only on City Council races I covered, and then on any issue or race I may need to report on — even presidential races.

“I also stopped sharing my personal political views with my friends, co-workers and even my wife. I wouldn’t think of giving money to a campaign, and I don’t sign most petitions.

“Some news organizations prohibit their reporters from making political contributions due to credibility issues yet few abstain from voting, but I’m glad I did. I held onto the philosophy when I moved to the Austin Business Journal and even when I took the role of editor.

“We cover only local business but politics still seeps into my job, seemingly always during the rare times when I put my reporter hat back on. I found myself talking about issues in the presidential race just recently when I interviewed HomeAway CEO Brian Sharples during one of our Face 2 Face breakfasts. He happened to work at Bain Capital alongside Mitt Romney. Wouldn’t you have a question or two about that?”

Read more here.

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