Last night I took part in #journchat. If you aren’t familiar with #journchat it’s a forum for journalists, public relations professionals and bloggers to discuss some of the latest trends and topics taking place in our industry. At 7 p.m. on Mondays you will find tweeps across the country begin the hashtag brigade with salutations and introductions. Some of the topics discussed last night included the termination of Rick Sanchez, media and political campaigns, citizen journalism, LA Times selling their front page and about seven other topics. I must say it was a great experience learning from peers and being a part of the conversation.

I was most curious to hear the opinions of others on the topic that dealt with media representatives in political campaigns. A local magazine publisher was featured in a political ad that indicated her support of one candidate while speaking negatively about his opponent. Her face and name appeared on screen but the name of the magazine did not. The October issue of the magazine includes a full-page ad for the candidate she endorsed.

A few people said that the publisher is an individual so she’s entitled to support whomever she wants. While I can agree that people in the media have the right to support whomever they want, I feel it’s a misuse of influence when they state their stance publicly. It’s a responsibility of journalists and members of the media to bring unbiased and fair news to readers, viewers and listeners. Media professionals not doing this are taking their role in the community for granted.

I can see this having several impacts on media outlets in the future. In this case, I can envision advertisers pulling out of the magazine and a decline in readership by those who do not agree with the publishers’ public support of the candidate.

Except in the case of stated editorial platforms, the communication industry it’s better to just keep your political beliefs out of the eyes of the public.

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