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August 14, 2007

A newsroom reprimand at The Times

Posted by David Postman at 3:26 PM

Seattle Times Executive Editor Dave Boardman wrote today in one of his morning notes to staff that there had been "an awkward moment at yesterday's news meeting." That's the meeting where editors and other staff from throughout the newsroom talk about the stories planned for the next day's paper. Boardman wrote in "Dave's Raves (and the occasional rant)"

When word came in of Karl Rove's resignation, several people in the meeting started cheering. That sort of expression is simply not appropriate for a newsroom.

It sounds like a conservative's parody of how a news meeting would be run. I wasn't there, but I've talked to several people who were. It was only a couple of people who cheered and they, thankfully, are not among the people who get a say in news play. But obviously news staff shouldn't be cheering or jeering the day's news, particularly as Boardman points out, "when we have an outside guest in the room."

Jokes get made in newsrooms, of course — even what you would call gallows humor. And Boardman wrote that he was "all for equal-opportunity joking at both parties' expense." But he was clearly ticked off by yesterday's display.

As we head into a major political year, now's a good time to remember: Please keep your personal politics to yourself.

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