Does anyone care about conflicts of interest any more? Or, perhaps more accurately: Is the transparency in disclosing potential conflicts of interest more important than avoiding conflicts completely?

Does anyone care about conflicts of interest any more? Or, perhaps more accurately: Is the transparency in disclosing potential conflicts of interest more important than avoiding conflicts completely?

That’s the question Simon Houpt, senior media writer for The Globe and Mail has tackled here. Citing cases of a Silicon Valley start-up that receives money from companies it covers, Houpt writes:

And in an age when people are blithely receiving information straight from politicians and companies – Starbucks has a direct channel to 28-million latte lovers through its Facebook page, who can decide for themselves whether they agree with the message – perhaps it’s only crusty journalism profs who care about such things.

He also discusses conflicts of interest as they apply to the recent decision from CBC ombdusman Kirk Lapointe regarding B.C. legislative reporter Stephen Smart and his wife, Rebecca Scott, who is the deputy press secretary for Premier Christy Clark.

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J-Source explored this notion that objectivity was dead, replaced by transparency in disclosing conflicts of interest back in November. Ira Basen explained that it is far more complicated than that

Read Houpt’s story here.  

Updated Mon. Feb. 13 to include link to Ira Basen story.