FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- It’s election season and that means I get phone calls from volunteers or the candidates themselves asking me to vote. “I’m calling on behalf of...”
Before they finish their sentence I interrupt: “I’m going to save you some time. I’m a reporter so it’s unethical for me to talk to you.”
I’ll admit, it’s kind of a relief to have this excuse because I’m usually in the middle of burning dinner. But lately I’ve been thinking maybe I should listen to what they have to say, because I do vote.
Some journalists believe they must remain politically agnostic, even in private, and don’t vote.
But I do. And I do take the time to educate myself before I go to the polls. I live in and report on a small town, so I often have to put on and take off my reporter hat. I’ve frustrated people and I’ve even lost a friend because I refused to be a mouthpiece for his agenda.
Just like balanced and fair reporting, I take voting seriously. And I know I can do both and separate my opinions from my work. And on the rare occasion I slip, I have good editors who keep me in check.
I look forward to Election Day. I take my kids with me when I vote. I explained to my 4-year-old yesterday, it’s important to help choose who will be making the big decisions for us.
“Like what kinds of decisions?” she asked.
“Like decisions about schools and the environment.”
“The environment includes places like the Grand Canyon and the mountains and places we love to hike.”
She seemed a bit unsure. She was most excited about getting the “I voted” sticker. So maybe in a couple years, she’ll get a better grasp of Election Day.
I want my girls to know about the women who fought so that we can vote. It’s one of the best things about living in the United States. Freedom of speech is also pretty cool.