Follow us:

Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 18, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Seattle Times news staffers protest company’s political-ad campaign

Updated at 3:40 p.m.

More than 100 Seattle Times news staffers – including reporters, photographers, columnists, artists, editors and online news producers – signed a letter Thursday protesting the Times Co’s decision to sponsor newspaper ads supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and a statewide referendum for legalized gay marriage.

The letter, which was delivered to Times Publisher Frank Blethen, said the decision to publish the ad “threatens the two things we value the most, the traits that make The Seattle Times a strong brand: Our independence and credibility.”

While the Times company has described the ad campaign as a “pilot project” to demonstrate the effectiveness of newspaper advertising, the letter warned of the impact on the newspaper’s core mission of journalism.

“We strive to remain independent from the institutions we cover. We shine a light on the process from the outside. We are not part of the process. This ad threatens to compromise that integrity,” the letter says, noting the Times had now become “part of the campaign’s machinery, creating a perception that we are not an independent watchdog.”

Asked to comment about the letter, Seattle Times Co. spokeswoman Jill Mackie said by email:

There is not a newspaper publisher in the United States who is more respectful or supportive of journalists. And there is not a publisher who is more personally committed to independent journalism.  Frank appreciates the journalists sharing their views and notes that their doing so reinforces the reality of the independence/separation between journalism and this effort we are all talking about. At the present time, I can’t comment on the impact of the letter, but what I do know is that the publisher will be thoughtful in his consideration of the concerns expressed.

Comments | More in Governor, homepage, Politics Northwest | Topics: gay marriage, political ads, Rob McKenna


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►