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It’s okay for reporters to have opinions. But to voice them while covering a story is a big no-no. While covering Occupy Portland, KPTV reporter Jamie Wilson told a group of demonstrators that she empathizes with their ideas about economic injustice. Even worse, Wilson shared her beliefs while the camera was rolling, and the video was posted on YouTube.
“I’m one of you!” Wilson exclaimed. “I have student loans. I can’t get out of debt. I had a ridiculously high-priced college education and my real world job has not given me the salary to pay it off … I feel your pain.”
As a former TV reporter, I know it’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of covering a story. We all say things we regret from time to time. But this loose-lipped reporter broke a rule that’s taught in Journalism 101: Don’t share your opinions while covering a story.
Now that her opinions have been made public, people who watch this YouTube video will probably no longer think of Jamie Wilson as just a reporter. They’re more likely to see her as a reporter with opinions and biases, which could affect her credibility as a journalist.