Overview: Impartiality and personal lives
As expressed in our Statement of Principles, we hold ourselves to a high standard. We work extraordinarily hard to prove ourselves worthy of the trust the public places in us. Our reputation as rigorous and impartial pursuers of truth is fundamental to protecting and strengthening that trust. As journalists and representatives of NPR, furthermore, we are in the public eye.
We hold dear our right to have personal lives — to root for our favorite teams, to live according to our faith, to form deep personal relationships. Yet as journalists, like those in many other professions, we abide by some clear limitations on our private conduct. We don’t put political bumper stickers on our cars, for example. We don’t sign political petitions. We don’t donate money to candidates. Those are some of the easy examples.
But when it comes to protecting our impartiality, the limitations are often more nuanced than clear. Our cars may not be canvases for political expression, but how about those of our spouses? How do we respond when the conversation at a dinner party turns political? And what about when the deepest aspects of our lives – how we worship, whom we marry – become fodder for societal controversy?
October 17, 2011