Journalism and Women Symposium sent a letter to Sinclair Broadcast Group Executive Chairman David Smith this week to express our concern regarding the “must-read” statement local news anchors employed by the group were recently required to read on air. The letter follows a statement JAWS released earlier this month.
See a PDF of the letter here and read the text below:
David D. Smith
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030
Dear Mr. Smith:
Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS) is an organization made up of journalists working toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.
We firmly believe dedication to unbiased reporting does not cancel out the editorial freedom that should be afforded to television anchors, and thus are highly disappointed to learn that anchors on Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned stations across the country were recently ordered to read from an identical script.
Furthermore, we are concerned with reports of a company culture that has a chilling effect on employees’ ability to bring forth concerns, use their own voices and express differing opinions.
JAWS stands for journalistic integrity at every level, across every platform. We strongly urge Sinclair Broadcast Group to halt its corporate interference and allow its stations to serve their individual communities by doing strong journalism, without fear for their jobs and without pressure from above to hew to a particular political line.
In a climate where local and independent news outlets are shrinking, we demand that trust and independence replace a top-down approach that is worryingly aligned with the White House at Sinclair stations. Until changes are made, we oppose Sinclair’s acquisition of Tribune Media company.
We are available to discuss these issues on behalf of our membership. Please contact our President, Yumi Wilson, at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting.
Sincerely, JAWS Board of Directors