Craig Douglas of the Boston Business Journal weighs in with an excellent article today on Boston Globe business columnist Scott Kirsner, a freelancer whose interest in a company that organizes events poses some dicey questions about conflicts of interest.
Whether you think Kirsner’s online disclosure is adequate or not, it should be noted that there’s no disclosure at all in the Globe’s print-edition version of his column.
The era of the personal brand in media means that we can’t expect journalists to have the sort of pristine noninvolvement that we demanded in the past. What we should insist on is transparency. As Douglas shows, the Globe is falling short of that standard. I’m a little surprised that Kirsner himself doesn’t insist on it.
Thursday update: Lots of reaction to Douglas’ piece in the online comments — including one from Kirsner himself. Among other things, commenters argue that the BBJ, like Kirsner, straddles the journalism and business worlds. To which I say: Fine. That’s the way things work in 2014. Just disclose it.