The Wall Street Journal reminded its staff today to avoid partisan political activities, including “passing out buttons, posting partisan comments on social-networking sites, tweeting, blogging, soliciting campaign contributions, hosting a fundraiser for a partisan candidate, as well as making a financial contribution to a candidate’s campaign.”
From: Tanouye, Elyse
Sent: Tuesday, April 03, 2012 4:00 PM
To: WSJ All News Staff
Cc: Conti, Jason
Subject: Politics reminder
April 3, 2012
With the contest for the U.S. presidential nomination in full swing, we wanted to remind everyone that the Dow Jones Code of Conduct includes specific restrictions on partisan political activities by members of the news staff.
It continues to be our position that news staffers cannot, under the Code, contribute to campaigns for national or statewide office or for local offices where candidates are affiliated with national parties, participate in partisan political activities or publish partisan comments. Partisan political activity includes passing out buttons, posting partisan comments on social-networking sites, tweeting, blogging, soliciting campaign contributions, hosting a fundraiser for a partisan candidate, as well as making a financial contribution to a candidate’s campaign. Individual financial contributions to candidates for national office are reported by their campaigns to the Federal Election Commission, and it is a fact of life that these contributions are regularly the subject of news articles that raise questions of whether a news organization covering an election can be fair when one or more of its journalists have contributed money to campaigns.
While these restrictions do not expressly apply to an employee’s spouse, significant other, or family members, all news personnel and members of senior management with any responsibility for news should avoid the appearance of bias. For example, if both an editor’s name and a spouse’s appear on their checking account, they should consider whether a contribution to a campaign would be reported as a contribution by both, and not just by the spouse.
The code doesn’t prohibit employees from actively participating in or making financial contributions to non-partisan causes, although their affiliation with Dow Jones shouldn’t be reported by such groups, except as provided in the Code of Conduct.
Elyse Tanouye and Karen Pensiero, Wall Street Journal
Neal Lipschutz, Dow Jones Newswires