An email from the bosses this morning warned all Los Angeles Times journalists not to take part in marches this weekend pegged to the Donald Trump inauguration. It's against "long-standing ethics guidelines" to take part in the women's marches planned for LA, Washington and elsewhere. Staffers were asking, says the memo from Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin.
From: "Duvoisin, Marc"
Date: January 19, 2017 at 11:21:13 AM PST
Subject: Women's marches in Washington and L.A.
To the staff:
The Women’s March on Washington and related events in Los Angeles and around the country will take place Saturday, and a number of newsroom staffers have asked if it is OK for them to participate.
In keeping with the L.A. Times’ long-standing ethics guidelines, the answer is no. Times journalists who are not covering these events should not participate in them.
Under our ethics guidelines, we are all obliged to refrain from public expressions of our personal political views, in order to safeguard The Times’ objectivity in fact as well as appearance.
This isn’t a new policy. The guidelines speak to this issue in several places: They state that “staff members may not engage in political advocacy,” “should avoid public expressions or demonstrations of their political views,” and must not “allow their outside activities to undermine the impartiality of Times coverage.” (The full guidelines are at http://lat.ms/2jyujj3.)
The Women’s March on Washington, according to its mission statement, is intended to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office,” and to “create change from the grassroots level up.”
As The Times prepares to cover the new administration and hold elected and appointed officials accountable with our journalism, it is our responsibility to do so without taking sides.
Journalists participating in a political event run the risk of jeopardizing our impartiality. Now more than ever, we need to reinforce our independent role in democracy.
If you have any questions about how we came to this conclusion about the Women’s March and related events, or about our ethics policy more broadly, please come see me, Davan, Larry Ingrassia or any other member of the masthead.
Duvoisin also signed the email memos warning staffers not to tweet their political comments during the election.