Been a long time since I posted here. Needless to say I've had computer problems and have been very busy at work. I was going to put this in the rant section, but I decided it didn't have enough cussing or flaming in it.
Background (really long so bear with me):
First off, link to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics: http://www.spj.org/ethics_code.asp
I work for a newspaper, and I am a reporter. Reporters are supposed to follow a certain code of ethics (see above). If you hear negative things about reporters, it's probably because they didn't follow the code of ethics.
I have a co-worker that I (used to) hang out with. I never considered her a friend, just someone to do stuff with occasionally (I guess I am hard up for friends).
1) She is the business reporter for our newspaper. She's originally from somewhere out east (New York or something?) and I think that gives her an excuse to act like a total ******* to everyone else. When she calls a source for a story, if they can't give her what she needs, she just hangs up on them. No good bye. No thank you. Just hangs up on them.
2) She has slept with her sources in the past. I wish I were joking. She dated this one guy, slept with him and then wrote a story about his business. She asked me if I thought that was ethical. I said, "Of course not." She then turned to the other reporter, and she said "It's OK as long as you don't quote him for the story." W T F???
3) She talks about her latest lay every chance she gets. She's 40, about 5'1" and 325 lbs (maybe more). She brags about sleeping with 25-year-old supermodels, and different ones each week. I don't care who you sleep with just don't tell me.
4) She was doing a story about a returning soldier from Iraq. The paper ended up scrapping the story because the guy's fiancee called the paper in tears, and complained that this reporter was flirting with her fiancee (I totally believe it). The couple ended up breaking up and to my knowledge, nothing was ever done to this employee.
5) She encourages and accepts freebies from businesses all the time. They send stuff to the newsroom on her behalf. My editors are frustrated but I don't think they have done anything about it. It's frustrating to me to see it happening. She's whoring out my profession.
Despite knowing all this, I was willing to hang out with her on a very infrequent basis (hey I have a life). I was friendly to her, but I usually am to most people anyway.
The issue with the co-irker:
So I am covering a press conference for Garrison Keillor's recent show which was held in Colorado. If you're not familiar with him, he's the guy who does A Prairie Home Companion on NPR. He's really popular around here.
At the press conference, the general manager of the venue came up to me and the paper's photographer and offered us 3 tickets to the show. I was leery at first, "I don't know, I can't take stuff like that."
"Well, they'll go to waste if someone doesn't take them."
A note: the reporter I mentioned earlier apparently really likes Keillor. Why I don't know. But she was prattling on and on for days before the show saying how much she'd love to go. I knew this. I also knew someone else in the building wanted to go with her husband (and probably dozens of others). Even if I didn't go, there were others who wanted to.
This guy was smooth. I *never* take free stuff, and the photog was saying I should too (it *really* sounded harmless at the time). But on the drive home, I got to thinking. It was a bad idea. I shouldn't have taken them in the first place. I have to write stories on this place and me accepting tickets could be perceived as a conflict of interest.
I decided to give said tickets to my editors and let them deal with it. They gave them to the general manager, and the GM decided to give them to someone else. They were out of my hands. I felt good. The world was right again.
Said reporter walks up excitedly toward me "So you have Garrison Keillor tickets for me?"
"No, I decided that accepting them was a breech of ethics. I gave them to the editors."
About an hour later, I thought she might have cooled down. "Don't you want to hear my side of the story?"
"No, I don't want to talk to you. And no means no."
That was a week ago. She has still not spoken a word to me. I told her, while she acted like I wasn't even there, that I would like to preserve a professional relationship, and said if she had any future problems with my ethics to talk to the editors. No response whatsoever.
All this over Garrison Keillor tickets? How petty can you get? Guess the girl likes her freebies and using people. And to think she complains about people using her, and brags about how her ethics are so great (Doth the lady protest too much?).
Good riddance. I have felt very happy about this whole thing. I have a husband who loves me, people send me emails thanking me for stories I've written and I actually follow a code of ethics. People meet me and change their minds for the better about journalists and have told me so. And I got rid of a leeching, unethical person from my social calendar.
I think what she's doing is very childish and immature, I've never liked any ethical decision she has ever made. She treats others like dirt, and I guess it was my turn. Associating with her was probably not in my best interests anyway (though I am somewhat concerned about her capacity for revenge).
Because she's the business reporter, I usually don't have to talk to her, so that's good. Though I do know that sometimes I will need to ask for source's phone numbers (unpublished ones like cell numbers). I guess when she pulls the mute trick when I need her source information (we share at our paper) I can complain to my bosses.
Wondering what y'all would do in a similar situation.