David Boardman, executive editor and senior vice president of The Seattle Times, has received the national Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics in Journalism Award.
He was honored for his staff’s coverage of the newspaper’s decision to pay for ads supporting the Republican candidate for governor, Rob McKenna, and Referendum 74, a ballot measure to legalize same-sex marriage, in the 2012 election.
“Under Boardman’s direction, The Times’ News Department reported thoroughly and aggressively on the decision, even going so far as to publish a ‘truth squad’ piece pointing (out) the factual errors in the ads,” the organization said in a news release Thursday.
Boardman also wrote a column explaining the newsroom’s independence from the ads and pledging to readers that the newspaper’s campaign coverage would remain fair and impartial, the organization noted.
Boardman’s “courageous actions” generally prevented damage to the credibility of The Times, according to John Michael Kittross, the Seattle-based editor of Media Ethics magazine who nominated Boardman.
Boardman recently announced he is leaving The Times to become the dean of Temple University’s School of Media and Communication.
In a written statement, Seattle Times Co. spokeswoman Jill Mackie said, “We are very proud of the recognition Dave has received. We have always known about his strong sense of ethics and it is good to see it be recognized broadly.
“As for the political advertising experiment, we understood before launching it that it would be controversial. Because of our clear knowledge of and support for the wall between our business efforts to fund journalism and the independence of our newsroom, we were not concerned about the effort compromising our reporting in any way.”