I have a disclaimer page on this Web site now.
Last week I wrote about my writing a letter on behalf of a mentor of mine. He is leaving my alma mater Temple University after being pressured out. This is a subject about which I have a personal investment.
All journalists should use their personal Web sites as a place to be as transparent as possible about just such an example of potential bias.
In their youth, newspapers were overtly biased, swayed by the political leanings of their owners. In the 20th century, the position of journalist became increasingly professional.
The 1970s and Watergate, like the digital revolution of today, changed the rules. There was no greater insult to a journalist than calling him “biased.”
So, we hid our biases. TV personalities brought back bias, but in a more open way. Still there are always new examples of journalists toeing that line.
Today we journalists have the opportunity to be as transparent as we can be. That is for the best. I think all journalists should post their potential conflicts of interest on their site. Newspapers should do the same for their reporters. Transparency is one way to gain popular trust.
My Disclosure page was in no small way influenced by Jeff Jarvis doing the same.
Do you have one? What do you think about it?
Image courtesy of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.