Ethical small-town journalist gets well-deserved big-time award

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It is a joy to pass along news like this:

“He no longer has a job directing news, but Glen Mabie now has an ethics award to add to his journalism credits.

The Society of Professional Journalists announced Monday that Mabie, former WEAU TV-13 news director, won the organization’s national Ethics in Journalism Award, awarded annually to journalists who act in accordance with the SPJ code of ethics. The award will be given Sept. 6 in Atlanta.

Mabie was recognized for the award after resigning from his news director position in January when he objected to an agreement between the TV station and Sacred Heart Hospital in which TV-13 would run medical stories featuring Sacred Heart employees and not those of other Chippewa Valley hospitals or clinics.

Broadcasting programming featuring Sacred Heart content exclusively didn’t sit well with Mabie, who noted the resulting conflict of interest that called the newsroom’s objectivity into question.

Mabie and other TV-13 newsroom staff protested the agreement but were initially unable to convince management to cancel the deal. Mabie subsequently resigned, and the TV station’s management canceled the deal with Sacred Heart.

Mabie said he is humbled by the award and credited his former TV-13 news colleagues with their protest of the agreement.

“Many of the people in that newsroom deserve this honor just as much as I do,” he said. “To see those people stand up for those ethical guidelines was really neat.”

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