Reporters covering the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte could win a trip to Myrtle Beach.
What’s this? Not sure the SPJ [Society of Professional Journalists] Code of Ethics addresses this. Oh wait, it does.
“Journalists should refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
The ASNE [American Society of Newspaper Editors] code says: Journalists must avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety as well as any conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict. They should neither accept anything nor pursue any activity that might compromise or seem to compromise their integrity.
According to an email from the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber PR department: “We'll be giving a Myrtle Beach vacation away each day to one member of the press — you just have to check in with us each day to be entered. We'll be located in downtown Charlotte at Blackfinn Saloon in the Epicentre — just steps away from the convention center.”
The release says the Chamber will be co-hosting a “Hospitality Central” for members of the press … ”Sunday through Thursday, we'll provide free wi-fi, charging stations, an open bar and complimentary breakfast and lunch buffet — complete with Southern Lowcountry cooking.
Umm, bloody mary’s and chicken bog. Sounds good, but the trip crosses a line.
Let’s hope the Chamber treats out-of-town journalists better than the local folks. The Chamber has refused to release its budget to local reporters and sent one reporter to a non air-conditioned warehouse to look at requested documents while it blasted “Achy Breaky Heart” and the Chipmonk’s Chistmas Song from boomboxes.
Bill Rogers is executive director of the South Carolina Press Association.
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