(Editor’s note: Reporters and editors have written articles and then opinion pieces since the inception of the Journal. It’s a long-standing newspaper standard as those, who become experts on their story subject, form an educated opinion. Our forefathers created the opinion pages to maintain a clear distinction between news and opinion. We will continue to foster an editorial staff that can do both.)
I was disturbed to see that the journalist who reported on the immigration initiative, also wrote an editorial expressing her opinion on the subject [see the Aug. 23 edition of the Journal]. It seems inappropriate to me for a journalist to report the news and to also state an opinion on that news. Unfortunately, the reporter’s opinion also appeared in the story, as seen by the extraordinary coverage given to a single individual’s testimony.
I think the main problem with having reporters write news and editorials on the same topic in the same issue is that it gives the appearance of bias. The appearance of impropriety is as much an ethical problem as is the actual impropriety.
The line between fact and opinion is blurry these days, with news anchors like Rachel Madow and others appearing to be both reporters and analysts. Nevertheless, we should continually strive to maintain a clear distinction between news writing and editorial writing. When the same individual does both, he or she stops being a reporter and appears to have become an advocate.
San Juan Island