Staying at arm’s length

The Town of Slave Lake is in the process of organizing a committee of citizens to discuss and make recommendations on compensation for council members. Your Lakeside Leader editorialist has even been sounded out about the possibility of taking part, but declined, due to a possible conflict of interest.

This brings up an interesting question – that of whether people whose job it is to report the news should ever be involved in anything that touches on something they might be called to report on. In practice – especially in a small community – a complete separation is impossible. Newspaper editors have been councillors and mayors, often enough, and even more often sat on this board or that committee. In most cases it probably works just fine.

But in the case of the Council Compensation Committee, consider the following scenario. Say the committee recommends a generous increase to what councillors are paid, or compensated for all the time they put in. And further imagine the newspaper editor is on that committee that made such a recommendation. Then he or she turns around and slams the decision. Or praises it, or (more likely) says nothing. Hypocrisy or complicity are charges that could easily follow.

Best stay out of it altogether.

Share this post

Post Comment