A thought on objectivity….
March 2, 2008, 2:51 pm
Filed under: Ethics

High fiveKENNEWICK — When the Spokane men won their game last night and I wandered back into the depths of the arena to interview their head coach, Mike Burns, I received an unexpected welcome. Burns (who used to be the Eastern Washington head coach until he was fired last summer) caught sight of me and gave me five. Like, not quite a high-five, but five nonetheless.

I felt kinda weird doing that. Understandably, he was very excited; his team had just qualified for the championship game. But was my completing the five a small ethical dilemma? To five or not to five? If I don’t give him five, he might be put-off and less responsive as a source. If I do give him five, it looks kinda like I’m rooting for his team. Or at least supporting them.

Anyway, the moment happened so fast I only thought about it afterward. It’s really nothing, but it’s another example of the weird things — however small — journalists sometimes obsess about.

EDIT: Also, he keeps thanking me for coming to Kennewick and covering his team. I’ve responded, “Yeah, no problem.” But what am I supposed to say? “You’re welcome”? “Of course, we like covering our local teams”? “Well, my editor gave me the assignment so now I’m here in marvelous Kennewick”?


2 Comments so far
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I laughed pretty hard when I read this.

We all get so tied up in ethics sometimes. I believe in objectivity to the greatest extent possible, but somewhere deep, deep down inside we are also people. And I think you had a duty as a human being to not leave him hanging.

Comment by jonesdaily

Haha, yeah you’re right. We are human after all.

Comment by Nick Eaton

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