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Times journalists not among those donating to candidates

September 14, 2010 |  3:58 pm

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 235 people identifying themselves as journalists or as working for news organizations have donated nearly $470,000 to political candidates this election season. Of these donations, 65% went to Democrats, the center says.

The list of contributors, which can be downloaded from the center's OpenSecrets blog, does not list anyone from the Los Angeles Times. That's good. The Times' Ethics Guidelines prohibit such "political advocacy":

Staff members may not engage in political advocacy — as members of a campaign or an organization specifically concerned with political change. Nor may they contribute money to a partisan campaign or candidate. No staff member may run for or accept appointment to any public office.

Staff members should avoid public expressions or demonstrations of their political views — bumper stickers, lawn signs and the like.

While The Times does not seek to restrict staff members’ participation in civic life or journalistic organizations, they should be aware that outside affiliations and memberships may create real or apparent ethical conflicts.

As Cal State Chico journalism professor Aaron Quinn says in the OpenSecrets article, even the appearance of a conflict of interest is effectively the same as actually having one.

Deirdre Edgar

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