On Thursday, Poynter reported on a potential partnership
between Ohio University's E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and the U.S. Soccer Federation. Poynter initially made calls on the story with questions about the ethics of the arrangement. What degree of independence would the students have? Would they mostly be doing public relations?
But the story didn't focus on those questions. Instead, it centered on the possibility that the whole thing might not happen after excited students began contacting the U.S. Soccer Federation themselves and the federation put on the brakes.
But it did include this line: "Feeding the U.S. Soccer’s Twitter account and other media sites wouldn’t be a problem for students in the school’s public relations (Strategic Communication) track, but poses ethical issues for the student journalists."
And that's what Bill Reader, associate professor at Ohio University, took issue with. In a comment posted on the story
, Reader wrote:
It is unfair and unethical itself to level an allegation that there is some "ethical" impropriety with such an educational opportunity. College students are just that -- students -- who are free to take courses outside of their major areas of study or to get involved in activities that aren't within the "bubbles" of their chosen majors.
In the case of students interested in sports journalism, it would be foolish for them to not also take some courses about sports administration and marketing.
Kelly McBride, Poynter senior faculty, said Friday that a variety of opportunities exist for journalists now, and an opportunity like OU's partnership prepares students for "a really confusing world of journalism."