Possible discipline, ethics classes for Wis. Gannett journalists who signed Gov. Walker recall petitions. http://t.co/p7NU30uz— Romenesko (@romenesko) March 25, 2012
From Green Bay Press Gazette editor Kevin Corrado:
In this politically charged climate, Wisconsin residents have gotten caught up in state politics with an intensity not seen in decades.
It’s an issue this newspaper has covered extensively, including Sunday, when the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team broke a story exposing 29 circuit court judges who signed the petitions to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
Our journalists are expected to provide you with the clearest pictureof the news as it develops — with objectivity and impartiality. And, as readers, you must be able to trust that your newspaper is providing you the most complete picture, without bias of any kind.
In the interest of full transparency, we are informing readers today that 25 Gannett Wisconsin Media journalists, including seven at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, signed the recall petition. It was wrong, and those who signed the petition were in breach of Gannett’s principles of ethical conduct.
Here’s how the anti-Walker journos rationalized the breach of conduct:
A number of the journalists told their editors they did not consider signing the petition a political act. They equated it to casting a ballot in an election. But we do not make that distinction.
All citizens, including journalists, have a right to hold their own opinions about political issues.
Journalists can and do voice their opinions about political issues with their colleagues, friends or family. Journalists can and do vote in elections. Those actions are appropriate.
But journalists who work within a professional news organization must go to extra lengths to ensure against even the impression of favoring a candidate or a position.
Twitter reaction from Wisconsin newspaper readers, journos, and politicos: