Monday, October 18, 2010

What's Love Got to Do With it?

A CHICAGO BROADCAST sports reporter was recently fired and the reasons remain something of a mystery.

However, there were recent published reports saying that the reporter was dating Nick Boynton, a defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Is a romantic relationship grounds for dismissal? Is it wrong for reporters to date/ marry people they may have to cover professionally?

(Photo via Bleacher Report)

15 comments:

Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

I do not believe that it is wrong for someone to be married to who they had to cover professionally; however, it may be a challenging task. I believe that as long as they don't include any personal info (i.e. things only they know through marriage/dating), it's fine. They also need to be very truthfully about the topic in which they are covering. For example, if Kevin Kolb's wife was a reporter, she would have to honestly report that he sucks as a quarterback. In that however, the spouse of the reporter must be able to take the praises or criticisms well.

Geo said...

ZING!

Nice subtle jab at Kevin Kolb. I presume, Alexis, that you are a local. Well done.

- George
(the teacher who loves a nice poke at the Eagles)

Matthew Ransom said...

Even if such a reporter were to cover their significant other objectively, the perception of a bias would still be present. It's not only about trust between the journalist and the subject, but the journalist and the audience. We need to know that what we are hearing couldn't involve a conflict of interest. In this instance, to not assume bias is overly trusting.

And the home life for the objective reporter wife of Kevin Kolb would be hell.

Tony Cassero said...

I completely agree with Matt, if going out to the bar with athletes can tarnish the credibility of a sports writer like Mrs. Hall said this completely destroys it. Additionally she would be able to access information that the rest of the press would not have access to. For example NFL teams are notorious for giving the media the wrong injury for players in order to protect the players. If someone was married to a quarterback she would know that it is his ribs not his shoulder that is bothering him. However, if she leaked the true nature of his injury to a 250 pound linebacker i don't think they would be married very long.

Sean Carlin said...

Yes, it is unprofessional to have a relationship with someone you are covering and that is grounds for dismissal. There is no way that she could report objectively.

And by the way, Alexis, did you watch Kolb's game Sunday? Not much sucking there. He played a tremendous game and it shows what he can do when the o-line gives him time in the pocket.

Haley Kmetz said...

I think the line is drawn at dating, or marriage. Dating or having some other type of romantic relationship between a reporter and a person they cover is definately taboo. It makes the work of the journalist seem unethical and phony. Annette John-Hall spoke about this same situation when she visited our class. She was a firm advocate of keeping distance between the professional relationship she had with the Denver Nuggets and the friendly personal relationship she developed with them over time. If a reporter were married to a person they had reported on, their relationship is different than simply dating, but I still would not advise that to happen.

Matt Regan said...

You have said above that is it wrong if they "may" have to cover them. I think a relationship is not wrong if you may have to cover them. There is an understanding that you do not mix business with pleasure and journalism is your business. It just means you must follow the code of ethics much more closer to the point because you will certainly be watched over when and if you cover your spouse.

Also I dislike Kolb as much as the next person but you can't complain with an 79.3 completion percentage and over 300 passing yards for a win.

Alexis Wright-Whitley said...

Everyone's take on the Kolb comment is interesting. I just dislike the Eagles in general.

Kaitlyn Sutton said...

Romantic relationships in the workplace are almost always unprofessional. From our quaint guest speaker from last week, Annette John-Hall's anecdote of her experience of getting hit on by a star basketball player leads me to believe that any truly professional journalist would try their best to keep work life and intimate life separate. I feel like mixing the two will only bring problems, so why put yourself in that position?

Lauren Haber said...

While romantic relationships in the workplace are deemed by most people as "unprofessional", the reality of the situation is that many people meet their spouses and significant others at their jobs. While it is unfortunate that some people take advantage of their marital/dating positions in order to further themselves at work, I think it is just natural that people tend to date and become attracted to each other when they spend a lot of time together, like they do at work. I think inevitably some people that work together form closer relationships, and these occurrences should not be grounds for job dismissal. I think that it is plain old sad that the Chicago sports reporter mentioned, especially if he is a solid, talented reporter, could possibly have lost his job because he was dating someone who is also involved in Chicago sports.

Kelly Offner said...

I don't think that being in a relationship with someone you have to cover professionally is an issue unless you think it hinders you ability to cover his/her topic without bias. I think this issue is something that should be adressed within the relationship, not on the terms of the employer. If it becomes a noticeable problem in his/her work, then necessaary steps should be made.

Paki said...

This looks like Comcast Chicago was taking preemptive steps against any possible future issues stemming from the relationship. Even the perception of a bias can be damaging to a company's image.

Also, Ed Snider may have pulled a few strings. Damn Blackhawks.

Jonathan said...

I for one would always wonder if the relationship would have affected the story she did if she was to stay covering the Blackhawks. Perception is reality these days, and a relationship between a reporter and the player she is covering would always make her work on him not credible.

That said, dismissal was a little harsh. They could have simply not had her cover the Blackhawks (god knows the Cubs need all the good press they can get).

jeanette vega said...

Relationships absolutely affect the opinion of the person being reported no matter what. I do not believe someone should be fired over it. I just believe that reporters should not be allowed to cover and make money off of a story on a person they have personal relations with.

Nicole Patouhas said...

Come on... We are talking about sports reporting here, What exactly does that entail? recording scores, conducting interviews, critiquing performances...? Unless bias is obvious, why would anyone even consider firing this reporter? We are now all living in a recession where jobs are hard to come by and if you have a great one like this reporter did; you are, no doubt working incredibly long hours and giving it everything you've got just to keep it. Doing this would probably leave little time for anything else. What are you supposed to do if you meet someone you totally click with on the job and are sure that you would not let this relationship hinder your job performance? Are you supposed to pass up that opportunity?