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Alumni donations

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by moonlight, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. moonlight

    moonlight Member

    I've been working at a daily for 10 years. I cover the local college's football and basketball.

    The other night, I got a call from the alumni office at my alma mater, which happens to be the same college I cover on my beat. The guy on the line wanted me to donate money to the school.

    I didn't donate anything because I consider it a conflict of interest. Anyone agree/disagree?
  2. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    You'll have time to donate to them later, after you're off the beat or out of the job.

    In the meantime, you have to be careful not to appear to have any conflicts of interest. And donating to the school, while it would be a small one (assume you'rre not giving $10 million) but a potential one nonetheless.
  3. leo1

    leo1 Active Member

    yup, it's a conflict of interest. it strains credulity to believe you would actually have an influence on the athletic department if you donate a few hundred - or even a few thousand - bucks but COI is all about appearances.

    that said, nothing should stop you from donating to the physics or english or journalism school.
  4. John

    John Well-Known Member

    I see no problem with donating to the school, just not anything associated with the athletic department.
  5. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Make the donation in your wife's name. Or, if you don't have a wife, your mom, your dad, or even your dog. Unless you absolutely, positively have to have that tax deduction.
  6. Eddie_Vedder

    Eddie_Vedder Member

    Agreed. Donating money to the athletic dept you cover - I think that one is obvious. But donating to the college in general, you know, the one that gave you your education necessary to start your career, what's wrong with that?
  7. Jersey_Guy

    Jersey_Guy Active Member

    If I were an SE hiring a beat writer to State U, and you told me you donated money annually to State U, that would be a red flag to me. It wouldn't matter if it were the journalism department or the athletic department. It shows you have an emotional connection to what you're covering, and that's problematic. Not a deal-breaker, but problematic. It's why most political reporters don't ever donate a cent to any political campaigns or parties.
  8. John

    John Well-Known Member

    I have an emotional attachment to where I went to college, but it has nothing, zero, to do with the success or failure of the athletic programs.
  9. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    I don't donate because colleges are notorious for pissing away money on the dumbest things.

    Seriously, if you have some money available to donate, give it to a hunger charity or some other worthier cause.

    Go to www.charitynavigator.com and check the listings of four-star charities.
  10. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Yes, and stop paying off your student loans to them, too; don't want anyone to think you favor them!
  11. Eddie_Vedder

    Eddie_Vedder Member

    Yes, but at the same time, you're not covering the journalism department, you're covering the athletic department. The two really have no relation to each other, despite both being affiliated with State U. It shows you have an emotional connection to the journalism dept, not the athletic dept. This is entirely different than political reporters donating to political causes... they are covering the political causes. We are not covering our journalism departments. Sid Hartman recently got in trouble for organizing a fund raiser for the University of Minnesota athletic department. There's a big difference between that and giving money to the journalism department to help out our industry's future.
  12. joe_schmoe

    joe_schmoe Active Member

    I'd have no problem donating.

    This and the Cheering in the Press box thread though makes me wonder more about where we draw the line.
    Do we now eat free (for those venues that still do) pregame food offered us in the press box?
    What about when a team is on a road trip, and they offer to allow you on their flight, when normally you wouldn't go otherwise due to cost?
    I honestly don't have a problem with any of the above except cheernig. Donations fine, free food, fine, free trip, fine.
    So long as the team know the coverage will remain the same, and that we aren't the school's public relations department...the only people that know we took their flight are us and them. The only people that know you donate is you and them, unless you make the effort to let that be known.
    I just seriously think, as quickly as our industry is sliding away, we have to question all things, including our code of ethics.
    If you see things as a conflict of interest, fine, that's your choice. I just don't think the public always sees it the same way. The ones that do are the same ones that complain that we get "a free seat" to the games.
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