Is The Union’s “event manager” in a conflict of interest?

We write regularly about The Union’s conflicts of interest. Publisher Jim Hemig has run out of hats to wear. But that’s not all. Here’s one that The Union should address:

Mary Anne Hughes Davis is the “event manager” of the newspaper.

Yet Mary Anne  also is on the board of the nonprofit Penn Valley Community Foundation board of directors.

And she wrote an editorial supporting the project that is promoted on the Foundation’s website.”Read a recent editorial in ‘The Union’ about the impact the Cultural Center will have on Nevada County,” according to a post on the Foundation’s website. (It is behind a “paywall.”)

This is wrong: using your position at The Union to promote one venue over another.

I can’t help but wonder what our other events venues think of Mary Anne taking sides when it comes to events venues. After all, we have The Center of the Arts, the Amaral Center, Miners Foundry, the Nevada Theatre, the Foothills Event Center and other venues as well.

What are The Union’s policies on conflicts of interest?

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

2 thoughts on “Is The Union’s “event manager” in a conflict of interest?”

  1. Here is the New York Times ethics policy:
    http://www.nytco.com/wp-content/uploads/NYT_Ethical_Journalism_0904-1.pdf

    Some excerpts:
    “Staff members may not serve on government boards or commissions, paid or unpaid. They may not join boards of trustees, advisory committees or similar groups except those serving journalistic organizations or otherwise promoting journalism education.”

    “No other staff members, not even editors in the culture and sports departments, may accept free tickets.”

  2. Judging from the follow-up comments on Facebook, there was absolutely no self awareness on this issue. None. That’s too bad. And it keeps our towns “small,” compared to the real world out there where ethical standards are taken seriously and enforced. And the reward is improved credibility.

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