A few weeks ago, I got an email from my old boss at The Gazette, asking if I’d be interested in filling in for a few weeks on the copy desk. Two of their copy editors just had a baby and are on parental leave. So I accepted a part-time contract until the end of March, which will see me writing headlines, editing copy and doing layout a couple of days a week. It will also see me having a real go-to-the-office job for the first time in over a year.
Sunday evening was my first shift, on the sports desk (if you noticed any errors in Monday’s sports section, feel free to blame me). Because I had worked as a copy editor there before, I didn’t need any training. But in the year I’ve been gone, they’ve replaced their computers (they now have awesome PowerMac G5 machines with two flat-panel monitors), redistributed tasks, dropped a major wire service, and put a much heavier focus on online tie-ins.
But as much as the job provides me a way to reconnect with old coworkers and bring in a bit more money, it also presents an unavoidable conflict of interest when it comes to my blog. Though I have always tried to be fair in my criticisms of local media (including The Gazette), I can’t ignore the conflict inherent in writing about one’s employer.
I intend to keep blogging about local media issues (on my own time), but so long as I’m employed I’ll keep from writing opinions about The Gazette and Canwest, positive or negative. Instead, I’ll bring the news to you and let you form your own opinions.
I also won’t be writing about company secrets or office gossip here (mostly to avoid people having to say “please don’t write this on your blog” after every sentence). Any behind-the-scenes stories will be relatively tame, like gloating about the pun-tastic headlines I come up with.
Just to be clear, this is my decision and in no way even suggested by The Gazette or Canwest. In fact, despite knowing about my blog (and visiting it regularly), The Gazette has never attempted to complain or interfere with my blogging, even when I’ve been critical of the paper. The only time it became an issue (when a source refused to talk to me because I’d made sarcastic comments in a post), the paper actually came to my defence.
So in the interests of full disclosure, that’s what’s going on.