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The AFL-CIO's Embedded Reporters

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Did you know that some of the reporters who have covered things like Act 10 and the Palermo's labor dispute are, themselves, union activists?

Brian Fraley takes on the Journal Sentinel's policy of letting the AFL-CIO's embedded reporters cover labor-management issues.

 

Many news reporters are members of labor unions. But did you know that some of them are labor union leaders?
 
In fact, two Wisconsin newspaper reporters who have covered major labor-union related stories over the past few years are themselves labor union leaders in their workplaces.
 
They do not disclose their union leadership positions when their articles on union issues run in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel...
 
According the the union’s website the guild represents more than 130 reporters, copy editors, photographers, page designers, artists, support staff and some deputy and assistant editors at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and producers and designers at JSOnline. Yet only 69 members voted in the the last contract ratification in October of 2012. So the union activism by the front line reporters is strictly voluntarily.
 
Would readers regard that as a conflict of interest? Would it cast their reporting on union-related issues in a different light? Impossible to know, because readers are never told, even though the Society of Professional Journalists declares that journalists should:
  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts. 

Read the rest. You have a right to know about the conflicts of interests of these reporters.

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