Posted by Kathie Klarreich on April 9, 2012
Teaching journalism ethics in Haiti requires much more than translating the SPJ Code into Creole or French.
A few months into my Knight International Journalism Fellowship in Haiti, I was conducting a training session in a radio newsroom in the capital when a reporter danced through the open door. He proudly announced that he’d just bagged a big contract to run a presidential candidate’s campaign for the upcoming election.
I asked him to repeat himself, unsure I’d heard correctly. But I had. He was about to boogie out when I asked if that wasn’t a conflict of interest. He slowed, as if now maybe he was the one who hadn’t heard right.
Fifteen minutes later, I’d changed his footing but not his mind. The only conflict he saw was how he was going to juggle his time between running the newsroom and running the candidate’s campaign.
I’ve even met reporters who have been candidates for rural positions at the same time they are preparing daily news reports on themselves.