When to disclose, and when to recuse.
All NPR journalists, including those of us who work for the arts and music desks, must tell our supervisors in advance about potential conflicts of interest. When first assigned to cover or work on a matter, disclose to your immediate supervisors any business, commercial, financial or personal interests where such interests might reasonably be construed as being in actual, apparent or potential conflict with our duties. This includes situations in which a spouse, family member or companion is an active participant in a subject area that you cover. In the financial category, this does not include an investment by you or your spouse, family member or companion in mutual funds or pension funds that are invested by fund managers in a broad range of companies (unless, of course, the assignment concerns those specific funds).
When a spouse, family member or companion is involved in political activity, be sensitive to the fact that this could create real or apparent conflicts of interest. In such instances, advise your supervisor so that it can be determined whether you should recuse yourself from a certain story or certain coverage.
October 17, 2011