Saturday, March 24, 2007

Love on the line

New problems have begun to arise as of late in the newsroom. This new problem has nothing to do with declining readership, the continuing focus on profit or the new entertainment as news lifestyle. Rather, the new problem involves the concept of "love" in the newsroom and the ethical dilemmas that surround it.

Kelly McBride of PoynterOnline described a recent problem that had arisen at The Los Angeles Times because of romance in the newsroom. Here's the recap:
"LA Times editorial page editor Andrés Martinez is dating publicist Kelly Mullens who works for Allan Mayer who represents Hollywood producer Brian Grazer. Martinez invited Grazer to guest edit this weekend’s Current, the Times' Sunday commentary section. Many worry that Grazer's selection as guest editor had more to do with Martinez' romance than his ability."

I was always told that it's not what you know, but who you know. Such is the case in this situation, or so it appears. It seems to me, and many others, that the only reason Grazer was chosen to be the guest editor was because of his connections to Martinez's love interest. Such an idea could be applied to Kant's idea of duty. All of the reporters' duties are the same--to protect the public's best interest. Martinez did not maintain his duty to the people.

The reporters of news are supposed to remain objective putting the public first in the quest for truth. When matters of the heart get involved, one must conciously maintain a boundary between the head and the heart. Martinez, in my opinion, did not use his head.

Maybe McBride is correct in saying that journalists should take a vow of celibacy. Well, not really, but you get the point.


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