The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


Dear Members: 

Several of you have reached out with questions, concerns and objections to the newsroom policy on political activity that was issued yesterday following the leak of the draft U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding Roe v Wade.

In part, it says “No outside personal, philosophical, or financial interests should conflict with staff members’ professional duties” and “staff may not otherwise indicate support for or opposition to a political candidate, organization or cause unless expressing their opinion on the subject is called for as part of their job. This includes financial or volunteer support, posting on social media, and participation in (rather than observation of) marches, rallies, and similar events.”

Some have asked:
Who gets to decide what is political?
Does wearing Philly team colors show bias?
Does this mean, for instance, belonging to a Jewish organization that supports Israel is a violation of newsroom policy?
Is supporting Black Lives Matter or taking a stand on the climate crisis allowed?
Several asserted that the abortion issue is NOT political but rather a matter of health care.
On that last issue, we will have more on Monday stemming from action I and the rest of the Executive Council of the NewsGuild/CWA in Washington, for which I’m a regional vice president, took last night.
Until then, please reply to this bulletin with any views you’d like to express on this newsroom policy (or any similar policies you are hearing applied to your respective departments) so┬áthat we can formulate a thoughtful, comprehensive response to the company.
Obviously, as journalists, objectivity is an essential requirement of the job unless you’re a columnist. But when does that inappropriately silence someone?
These are difficult issues that we need to sort out together.
In solidarity,