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Should Journalists Be Allowed To Publicly Criticize Their Employers?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Flying Headbutt, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. Flying Headbutt

    Flying Headbutt Moderator Staff Member

    On the surface, obviously, the answer would be no the same way a guy who works for All-State would be in trouble if he talked about how great State Farm was, or if a brewer for Coors was seen drinking a Miller Lite. But being that we're in the business of providing information and opinions for public consumption, and presenting it for the masses with criticism of others at times, should criticisms of ourselves be allowed by bosses? I guess what I'm asking is, should other reporters be allowed to do the same things an ombudsman does once a week? Provided the arguments are in good taste and constructive?
  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    This one's started just fine, but will not end well.

    The Bosses have no interest in hearing criticism, constructive or not, from their employees or anybody else.
  3. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    When you say 'journalists' are you referring to people who specifically work for newspapers?

    I see a distinction between publicly criticizing your newspaper, and criticizing ESPN, for example.

    In either case you may lose your job, but newspapers are built on the foundation of free speech and the condemnation of censorship, and receive extensive legal protection to that end. If you're going to live and die by those cherished principles (and yes, I know there is a distinction between being a newspaper and being an employee of a newspaper), it seems you should allow your employees to do so as well.
  4. MU_was_not_so_hard

    MU_was_not_so_hard Active Member

    Back in my college days, I wrote a column breaking off the editorial board of the student paper for telling students not to help pay for a new aquatic center because, as they said, it wasn't students' and tax-payers' responsibilities to help out the swim team. A few interviews later, I found out the student paper itself was on the surface self-sufficient, but that it was also receiving liability insurance, rent and power free of charge. It worked out to be more than what the swim team was costing the school.
    My editor at the time praised me for column.
    Somehow, though, I think that situation was a minority.
  5. TheSportsPredictor

    TheSportsPredictor Well-Known Member

    Ask Whitlock.
  6. joe

    joe Active Member

    You can criticize all you want, just don't expect to see it in print. Your boss still values his job.
  7. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    "Allowed?" Of course.

    But should they be impervious to any repercussions?

    I think it's reasonable for a company to ask its employees not to criticize it or its other employees in the media. Independent contractors? That's more of a gray area.

    Because I like my gigs and would like to continue practicing my craft, it's not something I do.

    I know there are a lot of people on this board who have a "no post" policy when it comes to their companies.
  8. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    I figured you'd cleanse your palate by posting on the journo board. :D And it's certainly good policy not to post about your employer. They have ways of finding out things.
  9. joe

    joe Active Member

    Turn it around. Should your employer be allowed to print something negative (besides arrest reports, etc.) about you?
  10. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    Ask the Santa Barbara News-Press publisher
  11. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure allowed is the right word here. I would say, in Whitlock's situation, a giant media entity like ESPN should have the "courage" to let someone like Jason (or, I guess, Bill Simmons) offer their honest opinion about things the network does wrong. If they really believe in someone like Scoop Jackson or Joe Theisman, then it shouldn't matter what Whitlock or Simmons thinks. But I think in Scoop's situation, it's obvious that the Mouse is already a little insecure that it's not working out, and having someone with Whitlock's credibility pointing that out only confirms that it was a silly hire in the first place.

    The New York Times allows Byron Calame (and Dan Okerent before him) to be very critical of the paper, and that lends credibility. If someone like George Solomon actually was allowed to have some teeth in his column, and if his criticisms would be taken seriously and result in internal discussions or changes, someone like Whitlock not get frustrated to the point where he has to point out that "boojangling for dollars" is an insult to all of us, not just African Americans. That should have been obvious, but Jason was the only one with enough guts to say it.
  12. swenk

    swenk Member

    Such as bad book reviews?
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