How public media in Alaska decided to cover cuts affecting itself

It can be challenging for news organizations to cover themselves. The appearance of a conflict of interest is higher when public media is covering its own sources of funding.

But we decided to do a story on the impact of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s veto of all public broadcasting funding. For the sake of transparency, we have decided to briefly explain why: 

  1. We seek to be fair and accurate in our reporting. The public broadcasting veto is one of the only areas that Dunleavy vetoed all funding for. Public media has covered similar vetoes, like the governor’s initial decision to veto and then reverse the veto of funding for the Alaska State Council on the Arts. We felt it would be fair to provide similar coverage, and that it would leave the public with an inaccurate view of the cuts if it wasn’t covered.
  2. We aim to cover issues with a sense of proportion. That’s why there wasn’t more statewide coverage from public media of the broadcasting veto earlier in the budget process. Our coverage was focusing on larger budget reductions. Alaska Public Media and KTOO aren’t planning more stories on this subject at this time. 
  3. We seek to be transparent. That’s why we disclosed in both the broadcast and online versions of the story that the stations reporting on the veto were affected by it. 

Alaska Public Media and KTOO will aim to be consistent in how we cover similar stories in the future. 

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