An executive of The Post-Crescent newspaper wrote an open letter to readers Saturday, apologizing for 25 Gannett Wisconsin Media journalists, including nine in Appleton, who signed recall petitions for Gov. Scott Walker.
Genia Lovett, The Post-Crescent’s president and publisher, said in the column that she took little consolation from the fact that none of the involved workers covers politics or directs political news coverage.
“The fact that any of our 223 Wisconsin news employees signed the petition is disheartening,” she wrote. “It has caused us to examine deeply how this happened, how we will address it and how we will prevent future breaches.”
Lovett said that the newspaper is in the process of addressing discipline and that it revealed the signatures to readers in the interest of being as open as possible.
Walker is being targeted for recall over his efforts last year to effectively end collective bargaining for most public workers. Last week, the Gannett Wisconsin Media investigative team wrote a story that exposed 29 circuit court judges had signed Walker recall petitions.
Lovett acknowledged that as citizens, reporters have a right to hold opinions about political issues and to share those opinions with colleagues, friends or family. But she said journalists have an added responsibility to protect their news organization’s credibility and impartiality.
“They must go to extra lengths to guard against even the impression of favoring a candidate or a position,” the column said. The recall petitions are public documents that can be viewed online.