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June 17, 2014 at 6:18 AM

Jorge Carrasco, Huffington Post and the financial interests of guest writers

On Monday, The Huffington Post removed an article written as part of a paid campaign to scrub Seattle City Light Chief Executive Jorge Carrasco’s online image, according to a Politics Northwest blog post. Seattle Times reporter Jim Brunner wrote about the effort, which City Light paid for, in a Sunday news story.

The Seattle Times opinion section publishes guest columns, aka op-eds, that are written by community members. You’ll spot them by the “Special to the Times” under their bylines.

Screenshot from a guest column in The Seattle Times.

Screenshot from a guest column in The Seattle Times. Community members are identified as “Special to the Times” under their bylines.

These opinion columns help build a forum for respectful, civil debate about the local issues of the day. (For more about submitting op-eds, check out The Seattle Times’ op-ed guidelines.)

How does the opinion section handle financial interests? Before The Seattle Times publishes a guest opinion column, our editors explicitly ask writers through a written form whether they have a financial interest in the outcome of their arguments. If a writer does have a financial interest, he or she is expected to disclose it and our editors have a discussion with the writer. If we decide to move forward with publication, we figure out a way to be transparent with readers about the financial interest.

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Comments | Topics: city of seattle, journalism, seattle city light