It’s a small thing, perhaps, but since I’ve taken to noting when this happens, it’s worth adding this to the series:
State Treasurer Seth Magaziner has hired Tatiana Pina, a much respected former Providence Journal reporter, to work in his communications office.
Pina started work on June 8 as a $62,918 “assistant communications director for the retirement system,’’ according to the lead spokeswoman for the treasurer’s office, Shana Autiello.
It’s funny. When I finally managed the leap from carpenter to full-time policy and politics writer, I met with a bunch of folks in the local field, and journalists would scrupulously decline my offer to pick up the tab for a $6 sandwich, or whatever. The concern, I guess, is that it might look like an attempt to sway their reportage, or something.
It is now regular practice for Rhode Island journalists to step up to jobs in the offices of local officials, who are almost always Democrats, around here. How could it not affect the reportage of journalists to know that they may want to leave open the option to work for the people on whom they’ve been reporting? If you’re reporting on — say — the statewide Tea Party or — for example — the activities of a small GOP caucus, the odds of ever getting a job with either group are very small, but the odds of getting a job with the people whom they’re criticizing are pretty big.
One could argue that communications jobs aren’t explicitly political, but they are geared toward making the office holder and his or her policies and actions look good. There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but readers should approach the news with full awareness of the incentives for the people producing it.