Journalism Versus Ethics

I was asked recently if I follow standards of journalistic ethics, to which I replied, “Of course not, there are no ethics in journalism.” Most journalistic organizations do pronounce to have them, at least by their own estimation. Either way, I do not consider myself a journalist. I am a correspondent. I correspond between the “little people” and their beloved local government agencies.
Journalists have resource budgets and people to research for them and things like that. I produce this entire newsletter by myself, every single week. Journalists often work for big corporations that have major advertisers like car lots and hot shot attorneys and high-priced children’s clothing retail outlets. Covington Weekly is owned by Chelsea and we represent downtown Covington, small “mom and pop” enterprises, mostly.
I have a mass communication degree with an emphasis in television production and video editing. I communicate. Sometimes the things I communicate do not jive with what our elected (or, in some cases appointed) officials want to hear. Well that’s too bad, as they say, because in the words of New Orleans’ exiting FBI Director Jeffrey Sallet, Louisiana is about at corrupt as it gets. It takes the people actually wanting change to make the change from corruption to non-corruption happen, and that is where Covington Weekly plays a small role. This is about educating people on what is happening around them, and often with their own money, no less.

I was told recently to get a “real” job. My job is very real to me; I engage people in the business community every single day. I engage members of the public every single day. That information is processed and compared to the official stances, then translated into the words written in Covington Weekly. This is what I do.
When things get out of balance, it is necessary to re-balance them. I worked for a twin broadcast station once. I left that position because of ethical conflicts. Their business practices were questionable with regard to prioritization, but the station(s’) refusal to run a story about the negative impacts of an industrial operation on a local farming community, solely because of conflicting legal representation, made the decision to leave an easy one. Because we do not agree with that type of business practice, Chelsea and I devised the model for Covington Weekly that you are currently reading.

Information that is found in the public realm, that is, publicly accessible through a simple internet search, is in
my opinion as CW correspondent considered Fair Game. Doubly so with regard to public officials. To echo Sallet again, the burden of eliminating corruption also falls on the public, who must demand that the said corruption be eliminated. Information is where the cycle must be broken, because controlled media outlets will yield controlled information. Control of information is the opposite of telling the truth.
“Government works for the citizens, the citizens do not work for government..”- Jeffrey Sallet, FBI, N.O. Division
Timothy Achan Gates, CW Correspondent Email: Tel: 985-288-9609