On My Soapbox: Would an elected reporter work?

It’s election season, which means more people will be vocal about issues, and potential politicians will be more visible.

This will also be the time you will hear, “go vote.” In fact, let me say it again – GO VOTE!

That is the only way to really make a change. Complaining, regardless if it’s online or in passing, will not make a difference. Here is the opportunity to be a part of the change.

I will not spend too much space on that because I would just be regurgitating what is said over and over again.

However, I wonder if a reporter has ever run for a public office? Please do not misunderstand, I nor any of our reporters are running for any offices. But what if one of us did?

Would it be considered a conflict of interest because of the nature of a reporter’s job?

By agreeing to be on the council or school board, there are certain topics that cannot be made public, but would having a heads up on certain subjects be good for reporting?

This would also give the newspaper someone close to pretty much every situation and plans moving forward. Not that a reporter would write everything they hear, but would they have access to too much information?

Another potential conflict would be ads purchased by the city for the publication in which the reporter is employed.

On the other side of that conversation, a reporter could be great as an elected official because if a subject could have a negative impact, they could help the city/school get out in front of it to lighten the blow so to speak.

An elected reporter could also help with transparency and clarity of policy. With a reporter as an elected official, people will expect more direct answers and information. I’m not saying reporters don’t ask the questions or officials don’t answer the questions, but sometimes people feel neither of those things happen when they really do.

Not that this would ever happen here, but it’s something to think about. The policy for conflict of interest has been a big deal for the last few years here in Taylor, so maybe it’s time to revisit said policy. At least to make sure that the policy is clear and there is no gray area – if at all possible.

This is not my plea to get votes because I am not running for public office. One because I’m not sure if I really can, and two because I’m positive I don’t have the patience.

Someone asked me if I ever thought about running for city council. My answer was a simple, “no.”

In my head there were plenty of words I can’t say around my mother or children.

I’m going to get off my soapbox now and go watch the Royal Rumble with the girls. We’ll all be sleep by the time it really starts, so at least I’ll get some rest.

“It's my job as a reporter to not be about the business of making friends or enemies but just be in the tireless pursuit of truth.”

- Stephen A. Smith

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