I have a major question of journalistic ethics that I thought I might run by everyone.
Both the IFL and Pro Elite are publicly traded companies. While both have shown heavy losses this year their stocks have bottomed out and can be acquired at a very low price. Not that I have the money for it, but I’ve been kicking around the idea of maybe buying a few shares of each for shits and giggles.
There’s one problem though. And that is that I cover both promotions for a living. It’s the type of conundrum that journalists covering other genres have to deal with.
For example, a CNBC on-air employee usually has to disclose their holdings. Also, many news organizations request that their political correspondents abstain from voting (although this practice has been dying a slow death for years).
So my question is, should someone who covers MMA have to disclose whether they own stock in a company they are covering? If I were to buy stock in the IFL or Pro Elite, I can promise you I wouldn’t let if effect my objectivity.
However, those are only words and unless you really know me, I wouldn’t expect anyone to put stock (pun half-intended) into those comments. I just read today that the Wall Street Journal is claiming that if Rupert Murdoch becomes their new owner they won’t let it affect their coverage.
My point is, I understand if nobody would want to take my word for it because in the same situations, I usually don’t take anyone’s word for it.
And while I wouldn’t let it affect my objectivity, it still appears as a conflict of interest on the surface and I know anytime I’d write something good about either company that it would open a can of worms.
So perhaps MMA reporters shouldn’t invest in MMA-related stocks at all?
I wanted to get your thoughts. Here are the options (leave your responses in the comments area):
A) Dude, there are millions of other stocks to buy. Pick something else and leave the two MMA stocks alone because MMA journalists shouldn’t have a financial stake in a company.
B) Buy some stock if you want, but just disclose that you own stock in a company when you report on it.
C) Why are you even bringing this up? What you do on your own time is your own business.