OLD Media Moves

WSJ reminds staff about ethics during upcoming election

April 3, 2012

Posted by Chris Roush

Elyse Tanuoye, deputy managing editor at The Wall Street Journal, and Karen Pinsiero, assistant managing editor, sent out the following e-mail to the staff on Tuesday:

With the contest for the U.S. presidential nomination in full swing, we wanted to remind everyone that the Dow Jones Code of Conduct includes specific restrictions on partisan political activities by members of the news staff.

It continues to be our position that news staffers cannot, under the Code, contribute to campaigns for national or statewide office or for local offices where candidates are affiliated with national parties, participate in partisan political activities or publish partisan comments. Partisan political activity includes passing out buttons, posting partisan comments on social-networking sites, tweeting, blogging, soliciting campaign contributions, hosting a fundraiser for a partisan candidate, as well as making a financial contribution to a candidate’s campaign. Individual financial contributions to candidates for national office are reported by their campaigns to the Federal Election Commission, and it is a fact of life that these contributions are regularly the subject of news articles that raise questions of whether a news organization covering an election can be fair when one or more of its journalists have contributed money to campaigns.

While these restrictions do not expressly apply to an employee’s spouse, significant other, or family members, all news personnel and members of senior management with any responsibility for news should avoid the appearance of bias. For example, if both an editor’s name and a spouse’s appear on their checking account, they should consider whether a contribution to a campaign would be reported as a contribution by both, and not just by the spouse.

The code doesn’t prohibit employees from actively participating in or making financial contributions to non-partisan causes, although their affiliation with Dow Jones shouldn’t be reported by such groups, except as provided in the Code of Conduct.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.