Journalists should also go on the record | AspenTimes.com

Journalists should also go on the record

Dear Editor:I almost fell out of my chair when I read Tuesday’s Aspen Times article that named various Colleen Truden recall petition signees. Granted, I frequently almost fall off my chair. But this time I was in my car, so it was weird.What threw me was that [Glenwood Springs Post Independent] reporter Dennis Webb named prominent Republican signees, but became coy when it came to outing his news colleagues, stating only that “two Aspen journalists who have written about the recall effort” have signed the petition. Which ones? And does this include local editors, who may not have directly reported on the recall effort, but influence public opinion via story placement, emphasis and (unsigned) editorials?Yes, there were many valid reasons to sign the recall petition. I signed it, too. But the valley news coverage of the Truden fiasco has at times been tinged with pettiness and maliciousness. I find it amazing that no media outlet has been able to locate a single Truden supporter to quote in her defense. Bad as she may be, it’s implausible that she has no supporters anywhere when in fact the petition barely exceeded its 10-percent threshold.Readers deserve to know whether journalists involved with the Truden story have signed the petition – therefore having an “on-the-record” bias toward it. I’m not saying that journalists can’t have lives outside the newsroom or any such garbage. But if they have taken a private stand, it may render their journalistic objectivity disingenuous. Disclosure from any petition-signing valley journalists would be appropriate, as would within-story disclosure in future stories. Anybody?Jeremy SimonCarbondale

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