There are some lines that shouldn’t be crossed. One such line: the barrier between media covering the political realm and public officials themselves.
That’s something I was reminded of during the past week. A week ago, I applied for a position in the new Lenny Curry administration. After a week of serious thought, I have withdrawn that application.
My reasons for doing such boil down to this. For a journalist to perform effectively and credibly, there should not be even the appearance of conflict of interest. To that end, I have recused myself from the application process.
I have covered the high points and the low points of the Alvin Brown administration. And I expect to do the same with the Curry administration. There will be times when the tough questions will have to be asked, and I will have to ask them of the mayor-elect, as I did during various issues encountered with the local Republican party early in the campaign. There will be times when things other outlets won’t observe or find notable will have to be reported. And I will report them.
Yes, in the Jacksonville market, many media people have transitioned on to jobs as government spokespeople. Some very skilled former Times-Union reporters, including those who covered the political beat, have had jobs in the Brown administration, with at least one making a direct transition. A f0rmer TV reporter is spokesperson for Angela Corey. And, beyond the political realm, many others have moved on to positions as spokespeople for a variety of local organizations.
Some would say that is a rite of passage. After some thought, I have to disagree. My heart is in political reporting. And it is on this side of the fence that I shall stay.