Scott Tibbs

Printed in the Herald-Times, 04-02-2002

Back to opinion page.

Conflict of interest noted

To the editor:

What would you think of a newspaper whose opinion page editor was not only a candidate and activist of the local Democratic Party but also worked for City Hall? At the Indiana Daily Student, that conflict of interest exists. It calls into question the ability of its opinion page to function effectively as an open community forum.

IDS Opinion Editor Travis Thickstun is employed by the City of Bloomington as a paid intern in the city council offices. Thickstun's position with the city and its lack of disclosure appear to be in conflict with fundamental journalistic principles, as seen on The Society of Professional Journalists Web site,

In addition to the conflict of interest created by Thickstun's position with city government, Thickstun is also a candidate for both precinct committeeman and delegate to the Democratic state convention.

As the Opinion Editor, Thickstun is responsible for the entire opinion page, including who is hired (or not hired) as a columnist. He also speaks for the official positions taken by the IDS. The IDS has taken at least two editorial positions (January 31 and February 21) during Thickstun's term as Opinion Editor that highlight the potential conflict of interest with his dual employment at the Showers Building and Ernie Pyle Hall.

The conflict of interest present at the IDS should cause concern about the integrity of Bloomington's student paper. Thickstun, for the good of the IDS, should immediately resign as Opinion Editor and the IDS should find a replacement free of the conflicts present.