A matter of transparency?
A rather innocuous item in my morning paper caught my eye. It was announcing the latest graduates of the Lexington County (S.C.) Public Safety Citizens Academy. According to the item, "The participants received 49 hours of in-depth training about law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service operations, They also received training in basic life-saving skills and basic fire-prevention skills. ...
This year's class includes West Columbia residents Adam Beam, James Gillespie," etc.
Only Adam Beam (assuming it's the same one) is a former student of mine and now a police reporter for this paper.
So some questions: While not a major ethics matter in my mind, for the sake of transparency should the paper have noted one of its police reporters took the course? Should he, since he is likely to have special access to the police, have taken the course, thereby depriving someone else of the opportunity?
On the other hand, it is a course for which everyone can apply, so the argument can be made that it's better to have your reporter taking one of those than getting his or her own special course from the police and fire departments.
What do you think?
(Adam's getting the full monty of this buisness. His blog notes that because of budget cutbacks (it's a K-R paper), he's gone from full-time police reporter to local courts three days a week and night cops twice a week. And with an occasional council meeting thrown in, apparently, according to his blog.)