A slice of ethics

Last night, a Trib reporter Tweeted that he saw Missourian reporters having pizza at a news event. It was being covered as a neighborhood news event, and I have no idea if what the Trib reporter said is true.

What if it is true? Is it okay, in the spirit of breaking down the barrier between “journalist” and “community”? Can a reporter be bought for a slice of pizza? How could the coverage of this event at an elementary school be affected by the reporters eating pizza with the families and others attending the event?

In general, as you know, journalists should not accept gifts or freebies or meals from news sources. Cultural differences, however, sometimes change the rules. Sometimes, to refuse any kind of refreshment is perceived as rude. That may even be true here in Columbia, Mo., in some situations where saying no to a cup of coffee or a glass of iced tea will actually make a reporting situation more awkward.

What do you think?

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37 Responses to A slice of ethics

  1. kebedefaith says:

    At the very least, we should not be automatically eating stuff at events we cover. If someone offers, that’s when the decision should be made one way or the other.

    I understand the effort to build bridges between journalists and the community and appearing more human, but I’m pretty sure you can do that in other ways than accepting food, especially in an event setting.

    If I were one-on-one with someone in their home, I may reconsider if they start insisting. But I don’t feel comfortable creating the perception that we are leisure members of the community. There needs to be a distinction and that doesn’t have to be intimidating. Besides, I don’t think food will curb intimidation.

    If this actually happened, I don’t think these reporters swayed their coverage based on the food. But sometimes we have to be conscious of how others perceive our actions so we can be above reproach and positively cautious.

  2. EmokeBebiak says:

    First of all, I don’t understand why a Trib reporter would tweet such things about Missourian reporters (I think it’s childish). But let’s say it’s true.

    I think the question we can ask is what was the purpose of having pizza at the event. Was the event advocating a certain point of view and if yes, were they using the pizza to influence people? I think having pizza is entirely different from let’s say an invitation to a 3-course dinner at a fancy restaurant. Pizza means: “hey, eat something so you don’t have to worry about cooking at home,” while a nice dinner means (at least to me), “you know I want you to support me.”

    Yes, ideally, journalists shouldn’t accept anything. But, on the other hand, you’re right, Katherine, some cultural events require us to accept at least something not to offend others. I think we have to ask the question: am I going to write the same thing if I accept this than if I didn’t? Or maybe, journalists could set a limit of $5, and if anything offered is worth above that, we shouldn’t accept it.

    • Tony Flesor says:

      I agree that it’s childish for the Tribune to point fingers about something like this, but I don’t think a Missourian reporter should accept (or worse, take without being offered) anything from a person or event they are covering.

      It doesn’t come down to a question of “am I going to write the same thing if I accept this than if I didn’t” but instead, is a question of “will other people think….” We have discussed how perceptions of the journalists are not great and this is part of it. While I agree that it’s unlikely that a slice of pizza will change a person’s mind, I wonder how it looks to outsiders when they see someone with a Missourian badge taking handouts from people they’re covering?

      As shown by the Tribune reporter, it doesn’t look good.

      As @kebedefaith said, if someone offers, that’s when the decision should be made one way or the other. And unless you’re going to damage your relationship with your source, it’s probably best practice to say no whether it’s under $5 or not.

  3. Caitlin Wherley says:

    I agree with what @EmokeBebiak said. Shouldn’t the Trib reporter’s tweet be a question of ethics also?

    I understand that the Missourian and the Tribune are competing newspapers, but I don’t think we should sweep the other under the rug, especially for a slice of pizza. I’m sure Trib reporters have done the same thing.

    To me, handouts and freebies shouldn’t be accepted, especially if the source does it for coverage. In this instance though, the reporters were already at the event, covering it for the neighborhood blog (and potentially the homepage). They probably weren’t invited by a source.

    However, accepting something like a slice of pizza is something we should think twice about before doing it. Once we walk out of the Missourian to report a story, we’re no longer students — we’re reporters. We definitely need to remember that.

  4. Katie Bevan says:

    When I was working on my bike delivery story, I was offered drinks and food while I was waiting to interview an employee, and again offered a free lunch from the manager of the store.

    I never accepted, simply because of the fact that I thought it was probably not appropriate. I also felt that if I took any of it, I was under the pressure of making sure what I wrote would please the manager/company. I didn’t want to put myself in any sticky situations, so I simply opted out.

    But I do feel that there is a huge difference in being offered things on the job or taking part in an event. I think that putting yourself in the middle of a neighborhood event and sharing a slice of pizza is more likely to make others comfortable around you. Eating is a very social activity. I think you are more likely to get genuine information out of people when they are just hanging out. Forgetting about the pen and paper in a reporter’s hands when it seems like you are just having a conversation over dinner. It’s natural. I don’t think that an elementary school would try to manipulate reporters with pizza when everyone in the room is chillin’ with a slice.

    And, on a last note, I agree that the tweet itself seems silly. There are no better things to talk about?

  5. I really think it depends on the situation. If not taking the pizza would have made it more difficult to talk to people, and therefore get a good story, then the best thing to do would be to take a slice. A slice, not a whole pizza, mind you.

    However, if the pizza was offered in exchange for a story, as a kind of bribe (oh, if I give you pizza, you will make me look good) then it’s not a good idea.

    Overall, I agree with the other posters, it’s a tricky situation. The reporters were already at the event that was serving pizza. Should they have taken a slice? Maybe not, but did it sway the story, I certainly hope not. I would think we are better than being bought with a slice of pizza.

    As for the Trib tweeting it, I agree that there are more important things to cover, but it also is important to look at the little things so we can make ourselves better.

  6. mmarkelz says:

    I feel like the ideal of not accepting things, whether they be food, drinks, or a free pen at a benefit, should be interpreted situationally.

    I don’t think this situation rivals that of a government official offering a reporter money or freebies in return for a good article. I’m guessing since this was a neighborhood event, there was not a lot of controversy to be uncovered, nor were there many shady characters whom reporters would be embattled to fairly represent. For these reasons, I don’t believe the pizza was a substantial influence on the story.

    The only thing I think it could have influenced was their enjoyment of the event, and if that’s the case–that they had a better time than they would have sans-pizza–and it’s affecting the way the story turned out, does that mean we have to neutralize ourselves to all sensory experiences so as not to bias the story? If a free concert was playing at the event, do reporters need to wear earplugs so they aren’t unintentionally so moved by the music that they misrepresent the event?

    Yes, that is ridiculous.

    No, it’s not that different from eating pizza.

    Reporters are there for the people who are not, and if eating pizza is part of the event experience, why shouldn’t they know what it’s like so their reader can as well?

  7. lynchmel says:

    As journalists, we should not accept free food or gifts when out reporting, but it seems the poor college student in all of us leaps at the chance for something we don’t have to pay for. An alarm goes off in our heads whenever we hear the word “free” and we automatically react.

    In a situation where you are offered food, I think you should politely decline. If it is offered a second time you could politely decline and pull the “It’s an ethics thing” line or the “I don’t think my editor would like that” line. Once those magical words are uttered, I would imagine whoever offered would understand.

    However, this situation has only happened to me once: I was reporting at the MS Bike Ride one evening when one of the riders I was talking with started a conversation on how good the Amish food was at one of the rest stops. I was offered some doughnuts he bought there, but I just said, “No, thank you.” The rider didn’t think anything of it and I didn’t have to say any magic words.

    Maybe we need to learn how to “just say no.”

  8. Brad Racino says:

    I feel, in the magical words of Scott Swafford, “it depends.” Use judgment. I was at a house last night with one of the guys I’ve been interviewing over the last few weeks for an accuracy check, and he offered me a drink and a slice of pizza. I declined, but not on journalistic grounds.

    I just wasn’t hungry or thirsty.

    If it’s a story that could, in any way imaginable, be bought and influenced by gifts, then decline graciously. But in community-type stories, such as an event at a school where the reporters need to establish a good rapport with faculty and staff for the coming weeks… I don’t know… I’m probably wrong, but I don’t see a problem with it. If, a few months down the line, a faculty member or someone is caught up in a scandal, no respectable journalist should be swayed by a slice and a coke.

    But, on the other hand, when you have tweeting Tribune reporters, you should probably be a little more careful.

  9. I like Michelle’s analogy of the music concert as an extreme case of bias.

    I think the whole pizza incident itself was not a big example of an ethical dilemma because it must have been a simple courtesy at a small school event and shouldn’t have influenced the story in any way.

    Of course, in different situations, it’s up to the reporter to take a decision (as some people indicated in their comments) and know when to say no and when it’s OK to say yes.

    Lastly, are we now allowed to spy on Tribune reporters too?

  10. melanieloth says:

    I don’t think that it is a good idea to accept food. A glass of water is ok because you can go out to a water fountain anyways, but I don’t think it is appropriate to accept food.

    A few weeks ago, I went to a Visitors Bureau meeting. The meeting was pretty informal and only about 13 people were there. It lasted all day (9-4), and everyone there had lunch provided by the hotel. Some of them insisted that I eat with them because they had extra food anyways, but I just didn’t feel like it was right. If I had accepted the meal, I thought it looked like I was just there for the free food.

    I don’t think accepting an invitation to eat makes a reporter’s story biased; I just find it a little unprofessional.

    A previous comment talked about being one on one with someone in their home. If they kept insisting in that situation, that would be okay to accept. The rules change when a reporter is in a public place.

    As far as accepting the pizza last night, I love pizza and I’m all for it, but I just wonder HOW much it really would have enhanced a person’s coverage of the event. I would assume that all of the reporters there have had pizza before and I don’t know if it would have added to their experience there.

    I think a reporters best move in these situations is to decline politely, without making it awkward. I also try to eat before I go to meetings as a reporter so I’m not tempted, and when I decline it really is because I’m full.

    The tweet itself is kind of lame and an unnecessary low blow, regardless if it is true or not.

  11. Ben Frentzel says:

    This has been a blurry line of uncertainty for the past couple years now. How can anyone blame anyone for acting in the moment and making a judgment they felt was right in that situation?

    Some days the line is a white picket fence, others it’s razor wire.

  12. Amanda Stevenson-Grund says:

    Circumstances are everything. If a reporter is at a neighborhood gathering for the primary purpose of meeting sources or looking for story ideas, it would be odd, maybe even wrong, NOT to accept the pizza.

    Food brings people together and makes people more comfortable. Think about the possible sources someone might meet, or the great story ideas one might hear by standing in line for the pizza.

    On the other hand, if the pizza is a fundraiser for a cause or an event, and the reporter is covering that specific event, I would consider it morally wrong for the reporter to join in.

  13. CAUGHT! I am one of the pizza culprits.

    The event I covered with another person on my team was a kickoff pizza party/informational session at an elementary school. We were offered pizza before the event even started, and it in no way affected our coverage.

    It’s a little disheartening that we were thrown under the bus over something as trivial as eating a slice of pizza at a social event. This is a discussion that needed to be had, but I do think we should take this on a case by case basis.

    Kelsey and I already feel bad because we ate pizza and skipped going to the gym! Now we’re being e-mailed and having blogs written about our actions, which, frankly, sucks, but we’ll think twice next time.

    I do not feel that in this situation we were in the wrong.

    Your hungry reporters,
    Brittany and Kelsey

  14. Dustin says:

    The tweet seems like schoolyard tattling, but I guess it has us talking.

    Katie, I think you were absolutely correct in turning down a free lunch from the manager. That seems to have implied strings attached. It wasn’t an event where there was food or refreshments for everybody.

    Had I been at that event, I would’ve eaten a slice of pizza, and I don’t see a problem with accepting a (non-alcoholic) drink. Much beyond nominal examples, the perception of bias creeps up quickly.

  15. gabriellelipton says:

    I, too, would’ve eaten the pizza. It was not bought for the journalists, and it sounds as if it was a cordial offering to welcome them to the event. In a casual, communal environment such as this elementary school kick-off, seeing the reporters incorporate themselves into the scene probably helped ease whatever stigma (if any) the event hosts and attendees had about them being there. And usually there is some stigma attached to journalists being around, no matter what the event may be.

    That being said, we do have to be careful about when and what we accept – especially in this town, where we’re often watched as closely as we watch others. When I was interviewing a life coach a few weeks ago, after we shook hands and introduced ourselves, she made a comment along the lines of, “I would offer you one of these notebooks that I give to all my clients, but I know you can’t accept it.” What if she hadn’t said this, but had offered it to me instead, and I had said yes? Would the interview have gone differently? Clearly, she has had experience with journalists in this town before and knows proper protocol, as I would say most “official sources” in Columbia do, too. In order to have credibility, we have to take extra precautions not to mess up, because – as seen in this instance – it’s all too easy to be called out on our mistakes.

    BUT when the time is right, who doesn’t want a free slice of pizza?

  16. I understand as journalists we’re not suppose to accept gifts from sources or interviewees, but I think there should be some exceptions. For example, I don’t think we should accept anything such as a glass of water, pizza, or snack before the interview, but I don’t see any harm in accepting that same offer while you’re on your way out the door. I may be wrong, but I don’t think anyone is “buying” after you’ve already received the information that you needed.

  17. Regina Wang says:

    We should take the context into consideration. If I was interviewing someone to write an obituary about this person’s father and offered a slice of homemade rhubarb pie, I would take the pie.

    But if I was covering an event, as in the context where Brittany and Kelsey found themselves in, I probably would shy away from those tempting veggie slices. I would just report the story and go home hungry.

  18. rosiedowney says:

    99 percent of the time the person offering you the snack isn’t trying to coax a positive story out of you. They are simply being considerate and there is nothing wrong with graciously saying “no.”

    I think the easiest thing to do is make up your own rule as a journalist about accepting food and gifts during interviews and use it every time. That way there is no confusion. If your rule is to never accept food and/or gifts when you are on the job then you don’t even have to think about it before politely refusing.

  19. sakitu says:

    Maybe I’m the only one, but when I read this post my first thought was “So?” My second thought was “Does the Trib have anything better to do?”

    Ethics is one big, gray area for me. You have very clear black and white rules on the sides, but everything in the middle is situational. Eating pizza at an event falls into the gray area for me. Would I have eaten the pizza? No clue. Maybe if I was hungry. Would I have considered the ethics of the situation? Probably not. My mind would have (and has often in the past) gone straight to anthropology. Am I here strictly as an observer, or am I going to fully experience this culture? Sometimes it’s better to observe, sometimes you need to get involved.

    In this case, not eating pizza could have made the reporters stand out. Their goal is to get to know their community, to become a part of it. Eating together in many societies is a form of hospitality and helps to unify groups. And in this case, it can help break down that boundary between journalist and community.

    I don’t have an answer for how ethical it was to eat pizza at this event. It’s situational. Eat the pizza, don’t eat the pizza. If you do, you may have a better rapport with the community. If you don’t, you might remain an outsider. And you’ll go home hungry. It’s up to you.

  20. I think everything I was going to say has been said, so I’ll try and be brief.

    Kelsey and Brittany, I can see how your situation could have been a little gray.

    I agree with Rosie–just make not accepting food/drinks/etc. a general rule. Or, make it a rule not to go hungry–that way, we can be in the situation Brad mentioned–honestly just not hungry or thirsty.

    That being said, most rules have exceptions. If it would be rude not to accept, or if declining would make the situation awkward, it would be better to eat–but just the very minimum, or something to drink. (Of course, this makes it a bit of an “I before E, except after C, or when sounding like A as in ‘neighbor’ and ‘way.'” Except in this case, it’s a question of which way we should be with our neighbors.)

    I hope no one takes this the wrong way, but we need to be careful about how much we vocalize our frustration with the Trib–otherwise, we’re basically doing what they did to us.

  21. Personally, I would politely decline. I’m pretty strict with myself with this rule. Last semester, I covered the NCAA Regional Gymnastics Meet for The Maneater, and they had a banquet just for the media. It so happened to be that pizza and soda were the forbidden fruit. I did not partake, though I was tempted with all these professional journalists breaking this obvious rule. I strongly believe philosopher David Hume hit the nail on the head with you can’t derive an ought from an is with this being a textbook example.

    I still would still say no even if that meant risking violating cultural taboo, even to the extent of fabricating a reason for not being able to eat. But I guess that’s a whole other deontological issue.

    I think the only exception was if I felt like I had to legitimately eat for medical reasons which is entirely possible. I suffer from migraines and often times the trigger is not eating enough or eating poorly. I’d rather be able to report and write a story than being knocked out of commission by a debilitating migraine. Failing to give the public the information it needs is a greater sin than accepting a small favor from a source.

    Ultimately, I, however, feel once you cross one line, where do you stop? I think the discipline must be spartan and exceptions must command higher moral authority within the ethical hierarchy in order to circumnavigate this rule. Who are we if we so easily ignore our ethical bylaws? It’s a matter of adhering to principal, and principal should never be surrendered casually.

  22. I agree with kebedefaith. Reporters should not automatically head to the food table when at a news event. If they’re offered food, that’s when it should be considered.

    But in the instance of a neighborhoods reporter, I think it’s probably in their best interest to take the food. As a neighborhoods reporter you want to get to know your community. By not eating when everyone else is or refusing an offer for food, you put a barrier between yourself and your subject. You are the reporter. They are the interviewee. I think in the neighborhoods beat you want to establish you’re writing for the Columbia Missourian, but you also want to establish that you’re a part of their community too. You want to keep that barrier as invisible as possible. It isn’t just a Q&A all the time.

    The best stories happen when you really know who your subject is. Maybe this was just an event that the reporters were covering, but by immersing themselves in the community of people that are there, they open the door for finding new (and possibly more enriching) stories.

  23. Might help if everyone here knew the full story. The Trib journalist was attending as I understand it as a member if the community and observed this and tweeted it. So perhaps the better lesson here is you are always being watched and to act professionally. Have I had media meals at games. Dinners made by story subjects in their home? Yupp. But it depends in the situation. Usually I eat on my own beforehand simply because my camera doesn’t like pizza grease in it very much. Nor do your notebooks. If we are busy eating we’re more likely to miss something. If the issue is fitting in then perhaps a drink or water is good or make a donation or pay for the food you ate.

  24. Chen Yao says:

    I agree with Patrick that journalists are always being watched. I guess everyone has a different answer. Some might think its ok some might not.What we did not only matter to our ethic but also what other people think about us. For example, I might think it’s ok and helpful to just grab a slice and so do 99 of the 100 people presented at the community event, but one does not think so (who might be from Trib who might just be everyone). Thus, the one made a fuss about this and would have caused some problems. But we can’t afford to have such a stain on our career path. What I would say is that if you never had one slice of such “dirty pizza” then don’t start, if you happened to had one already, then you already know how it tastes.

  25. lakhani29 says:

    First of all, I love the title of this post. I think quirky/creative writing like the headline makes reading more enjoyable and lets us express our personalities as writers.

    Second, I think accepting a slice of a pizza really depends on the situation. Might seem like the easy answer, but to me, it’s the one that makes the most sense. Like some people have already said, it can be rude to not accept food in some situations. Conversely, accepting food can sometimes send the wrong message and/or get us in trouble, which is what happened here.

    Personally, I won’t accept anything that may significantly influence my report/story. A grape or a bottle of water won’t appease the reporter in me. I can’t say the same for a steak though. The amount of people and ages of those people at an event can also make a difference. The same can be said for community events (like this one) or private and sporting events.

    I will say the nature of the event you’re covering should also be taken into consideration. I can’t function without food. If I’m going to be covering something for a long period of time, I have to eat; otherwise, it’ll be bad. Seriously.

    Also, consider this: the food at a particular event can be part of or help you find your lead. Has anyone thought about that? For example, if it’s a bake off, talking about how delicious the winning entry was can surely entice a reader to want more. Or eating something from a family recipe at a state fair can lead you to an interesting person or place that you can lead your story with.

    For the record, I have no problem with the decision our reporters made. I also think the Trib reporter was wrong for tweeting what he did. We’re college students, dude. Leave the gossiping to us.

  26. lizhartnett says:

    To take food or not to take food, that is the question.

    When it comes to answer that question, I’m a firm believer in the words, “it depends.” As journalists, it is our duty to report the events of our community first and foremost. Being offered a slice of pizza at the beginning of an event, every reporter’s response should probably be along the lines of, “no thanks, maybe later.”

    Because after the journalistic duties of reporting are done, I feel that there should be no issue in grabbing some free pizza to go. Getting the reporting done first shows that we’re not just there for the free food, while grabbing a slice of pizza on the way out shows that we’re not rude enough to decline free pizza. Problem solved.

    With that being said though, I don’t think we should accept someone buying us dinner; that is crossing into dangerous territory where reporters shouldn’t go.

  27. Sean Leahy says:

    After being in press boxes at stadiums all across the country, I’ve found eating pre-game food to be commonplace among reporters.

    Many times there will be a pre-game spread of food or bottles of water offered to reporters in the press box. Many of the events I covered featured veteran sportswriters and I never heard any talk about ethics when it came to taking what was offered.

    Maybe this situation is different since the press box is relatively far from the field and we’re not fraternizing with sources while we eat, but I think the basic concept is the same. From my experience, accepting food and drink in press boxes is standard operating procedure.

  28. alecialass says:

    This is a really interesting subject. Every time I go to a high school tennis match, whether it be Rock Bridge or Hickman, I get offered something to eat. Even though I have never accepted, I have grown really close to both of the teams so I feel like its their way of including me more in their sport/team and just simply to be polite.

    As for the Tribune reporter, I think its rude for them to criticize the Missourian and the way we do our jobs. I have noticed though, that they do really watch us (Missourian reporters) when we are at the same event. Every time I am covering a story I feel like I am being watched with every move I make. While it is a little nerve wrecking, I think that it prepares us to be professional and really think about our decisions while reporting. Also, I think the Tribune reporters are just upset that they don’t get offered delicious treats. haha!

  29. Eric Holmberg says:

    Brad’s exactly right: it depends. I think in this case it’s completely acceptable. A kickoff pizza party at a elementary school? This isn’t a DEFCOM 1 situation for Trib reporters to bash us via tweet. Shouldn’t it be more important for reporter on the neighborhood beat to meet as many sources as possible early on since their work is hyper-local? I feel like the neighborhood reporters have to make themselves a part of the community, which includes the occasional pizza. Now if Bob McDavid were to take me out to lunch that would be different, what he does is always news. What happens in the neighborhoods has gone previously unreported so our first job is to be there, to be a part of people’s lives.

  30. Audrey Moon says:

    Over the summer I was doing a profile on a skater for the Derby Dames. I shadowed some practices, talked to teammates and even skated with the women during open-skate night. After skating all the women went out for pizza and invited me along. I chipped in of course, but still enjoyed a meal with the Derby Dames. Part of me felt like I should have just observed them, but most of me thought it was more important to be a part of their camaraderie.

    I’m now working in Jefferson City at the capitol. I’ll start covering more legislative events one recess is over and when things start to heat up politically, I’m sure I’ll be dealing with “slices of pizza” more and more. Between lobbyists and politicians it will be important for me to remain unbiased, cautious, and to avoid “slice” situations.

    So, to repeat everyone else, it depends. I think it is important to be aware of right and wrong in situations and to be aware of what kind of story you are covering.

  31. When I met with the neighborhood chairman for my neighborhood, he bought me a coffee at Starbucks. Of course I offered repeatedly to pay for my own, but he was the sweetest old man that has ever wanted to buy me coffee, so I gave in. I ordered the cheapest thing I could find (“a tall just plain regular coffee” I believe were my words because I’m used to my frappucinos and macchiatos). He even joked, “So I guess I’m buying off a reporter right?” To which I replied, “Yes this is highly unethical (insert lols here).”

    But really, I don’t think it was, nor was this pizza fiasco. In fact, what reassured me that it wasn’t was the fact that the man still told me about problems and concerns happening in the neighborhood, not bothering to sugarcoat things. I am, and always will be, a human first. That’s just how I operate and what I believe in, especially with community reporting. Sometimes people just want to be nice and I think we have forgotten that notion as reporters. Plus, what doesn’t lighten the mood like food? That’s probably why the two words rhyme.

    However, in another situation at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, I was offered pizza that was available for everybody and politely declined. Political reporting and the likes (courts are another biggy) are a totally different breed when it comes to accepting offers, even ones as simple as pizza. I think this is more where appearing professional is crucial to credibility. Interacting and socializing with a certain group of people often leaves the other group out and makes you look one-sided, or two-faced if you accept offers from both parties. These situations are best left neutral and malnourished.

    If an old man wants to buy my coffee while we chat about Mr. Robinson’s garden, then I’m going to accept. Why? Because I’m not a…….well I’ll just leave it at that.

  32. Jing Zhao says:

    I know that the journalism ethic in the US doesn’t allow journalists to accept food or gift from anyone in any place. But I still think we should take context into consideration. If people give you food aiming at make you sway your report, it should be seriously banned. But if the hoster of the activity just spread food to anyone at present, then I think a journalist should act as a normal person. I mean, eat as others do.
    Surely I will do according to the ethic, I still can’t be fully persuaded from the bottom of my heart.

  33. Allison Seibel says:

    I don’t think this was unethical. These reporters weren’t being “paid off” or bought anything…they simply ate pizza that was offered to everyone at an event. Because of our friendly rivalry with the Trib, I have to say that this just sounds like a reporter over there causing drama and making something out to be something it isn’t. I think that’s quite unnecessary and tacky. As a neighborhood reporter myself, it’s important to connect with your community and really get to know them. Sometimes it’s not extremely easy. You have to immerse yourself in the community. I think that that is probably what these reporters were doing, just being friendly and trying to get on the same level as everyone – and if everyone was offered and welcome to eat pizza, they were no different. I think the Trib needs to mind their own business.

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