ERIC Number: ED284214
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Publisher as Official: Conflict of Interest or Libertarian Vestige?
Sneed, Don; Riffe, Daniel
The press has long been considered the "watchdog" of government, yet today, more than 100 newspaper editors also serve in public office. A study sought to determine the types of role conflict that arise for editors who hold public office, the public's reaction to such dual roles, and the policies of several leading newspapers concerning editors or publishers holding office. Inquiries were sent to press associations to identify publishers who served as public officials, and five publisher/public officials were selected for interview. Additionally, the newspapers they published were examined, and 75 of their readers were polled for their reactions to the newspapers and their publishers. Results showed varied responses from major newspapers, ranging from those who discouraged such activity for fear of conflict of interest, to one who encouraged its editors/publishers to remain active in such community affairs. Results of reader questionnaires suggest that most disagree in principle with editors holding public office, but many do not object to their own newspaper editors doing so. Results from the five interviews suggest that some editor/public officials become printers of "good news" newspapers, using them for community morale boosting. Others are more like the fiery libertarians of the nineteenth century, using their newspapers to attack political opponents. A third style is the editor/official whose newspaper is bland and not thought-provoking. (JC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Editorial Policy; Newspaper Ownership
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (70th, San Antonio, TX, August 1-4, 1987).