Show me the money!

  Posted in Anu Online Posted by CBC News on April 15, 2009 05:20 PM |

The election kicked off...and it wasn't just the political parties that made the waves on the web. An online news magazine, the The Tyee did too!

Last week the editor of The Tyee, David Beers, asked readers to show him the money! Yep...he held out his hand asked readers to help the online mag pay for their B.C. election coverage. All he wanted was $5000 to pay for one reporter.

Well, boy did that campaign take off! Readers donated more than $13,000!

And if you donated...you got to tell David what topic you'd like to see The Tyee cover during the election! David says The Tyee team talked about it and thought, why not let the readers have a say...they are paying for it after all!

BUT what about journalistic ethics? What about balance in what you report? And is it wise to have donors, who may have an agenda, rule what you report?

David Beers told me, that won't happen, they'll take the suggestions the donors give them...but don't expect it to be front page news...if it isn't!

Okay sounds fair, but I don't know...

So I put my questions to Ross Howard. He's a journalist and teaches journalism ethics at Langara College. Ross says The Tyee will need to tread carefully. Iit needs to make sure it doesn't just reflect the interests of the people who are donating the money but all it's readership.

I wonder if that's easier said than done?

Beers says they've proven they can keep the balance. If you don't already know, much of the start up costs of The Tyee were paid for by the BC Federation of Labour. And David told me that hasn't had any effect on the stories The Tyee chooses to cover.

Well, maybe The Tyee is onto something...

So, I wonder what $13,000 will buy in election coverage? What do you think of their plan?