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Jackson Nixes A Controversial Media Accountability Policy

Jackson Township building entrance
Jason Allentoff, Townsquare Media NJ

The Jackson Township School Board plans to cancel a policy that became quite controversial with the public and the media. It dealt with a proposed media accountability policy which some felt would end up controlling what reporters who attend meetings can report on.

While the idea of a journalist code of ethics had good intentions, it was far from well received. Sharon Dey, the school board president, says the policy was in no way trying to muzzle reporters, weed out potentially damaging news or censor anyone. She says it was more in place to make sure reporters get things right and take some responsibility for their actions. Dey tells WOBM News that it was never meant to cause so much trouble or turn into a lightning rod.

Dey explains “it really was designed to protect the students, faculty and board members from unethical journalistic practices. With the media constantly changing and advancing, anyone with a laptop and a wi-fi connection can call themselves a journalist or a member of the media. We don’t want any problems.”

According to Dey, they’ve never had a problem with a member of the media before – this was purely precautionary. Dey continues to say “I have nothing but the highest regard for the profession and for the professionals we deal with. For me, this isn’t about anyone in particular. We have enjoyed a productive, open relationship with the media for years. Do we always like what is printed about us? No. But the question isn’t whether we “like” what is written. The right questions are: Was the information gathered in a responsible manner? Is it accurate? Is it balanced? We might not always like the product, but we absolutely respect the method.”

The board will formally withdraw the proposal at tomorrow night’s meeting. It starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Jackson Memorial High School Fine Arts Center.


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