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THREAD 👇: On Editorial Boards and Transparency

In Chicago today, a key city committee is set to vote on Lincoln Yards, a controversial $6 billion

This week, Crain’s @crainschicago published an editorial in support of it:
It was written by the “Crain’s Editorial Board.”

Which got me thinking: Who is on the @CrainsChicago Editorial Board?
I couldn’t find the answer online.

The Crain’s staff page doesn’t say. It doesn’t list an Opinions/Editorial editor/writer. Editorial Board inquiries are sent to: editor@chicagobusiness.com. Google didn't help, either.

So I went straight to the source, asking Crain’s editors.
Yesterday I asked: “Is there information about who comprises the Crain's Editorial Board online?”

A Crain’s editor responded: “It’s a mix of top editors and senior reporters.”

I then asked for a list of editors/reporters who comprise the Editorial Board. I have not heard back.
There’s been a lot of talk about Editorial Boards lately, w/ @suntimes recently explaining that their Editorial Board who endorsed Lightfoot is a separate entity from reporters who would be moderating a now-canceled mayoral panel. chicago.suntimes.com/news/sun-times…
As journalists, there are a lot of things we assume readers understand about journalism that we shouldn't: how journalism is made, how journalism if funded, why local news is in a crisis.

What an Editorial Board is and how they make decisions is one of those things IMO.
Since I wasn’t getting an answer back from @CrainsChicago, I decided to compare their Editorial Board transparency practices to the @chicagotribune & @suntimes.
By contrast, readers can easily find out who is on the @Chicagotribune Editorial Board here: chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/c…

Recently, the Trib Board published a guide explaining their endorsement process: chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/c…

Trib’s Board even has its own Twitter: @Trib_ed_board
The @suntimes “contact us” page tells you @McNamee54 leads the Editorial Board.

I couldn’t find full info for Sun-Times Editorial Board online, so I asked an editor there. He responded w/ names of the 4 others: @MaryMitchellCST, Lorraine Forte, @thomasfrisbie, @MarlenGarcia777.
McNamee, Mitchell, Frisbie, Garcia list their @suntimes Editorial Board affiliation in their Twitter bios, and Garcia’s Twitter cover photo is of the Editorial Board (& other ST staff) at a recent mayoral debate:
Update: @FuscoChris, who leads the Sun-Times, is also a member of the @Suntimes Editorial Board, one member tells me.
Bc I know someone will ask (& you should!) @blockclubchi does not have an Editorial Board. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit newsroom, we do not endorse candidates or advocate for/against projects. We aim to inform so readers can make their own decisions about issues that affect them.
Then I wondered if the Society of Professional Journalists, which has a widely-subscribed-to Code of Ethics for journalists, had guidelines regarding Editorial Boards.

@amyjmerrick was kind enough to connect me with @LWalsh, @spj_tweets ethics chair and former nat’l president.
While SPJ doesn’t have specific guidelines that say a news org should disclose who is on an Editorial Board, the Code of Ethics states that ethical journalism means taking "responsibility for one’s work & explaining one’s decisions to the public."spj.org/ethicscode.asp
@LWalsh continues: “To me, it would make sense for a news organization to disclose who is on their editorial board so the public has a better understanding of how the opinions from the board are being formed and who is involved in that process....
...”I would recommend that in order to be transparent, an important part of creating ethical
journalism, a news organization should disclose that information.”— @LWalsh blogs.spjnetwork.org/ethicscode/?p=…
Why should we be asking who comprises an Editorial Board?

Whether it's Sun-Times endorsing Lightfoot, Trib & Crusader endorsing Daley or Crain's endorsing Lincoln Yards, the public should know who is the driving force behind the editorial that aims to sway the public’s decision.
And so we can ask follow-up questions, like:

-Does the Board reflect the makeup of our city?
-Does the Board include members who have diverse views?
-Are the “senior reporters” on the Editorial Board the same reporters covering Lincoln Yards for Crain’s?
Anyway, I think there’s an opportunity here for Chicago’s newspapers to inform the public about what an Editorial Board is, who comprises it & how it functions.

Maybe a future Public Newsroom @city_bureau could facilitate w/ @chicagotribune, @suntimes or @crainschicago?
And if @crainschicago does answer my question about who comprises the Crain’s Editorial Board, I’ll update the thread here.
Like I said, words matter, and an Editorial Board's take aims to sway the public's decision:
Another look at Editorial Boards + transparency: The @dailyherald lists their members w/ photos on opinion page, DH alum @m_silvermeyer says. In effort to "broaden the perspectives" of editorials, they also created an advisory group that meets w/ the Board:dailyherald.com/news/20190105/…
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