Jessica McBride, 39, a journalism teacher at the University of Wisconsin and a former reporter for the Journal Centinel, is alleged to have had an affair with 61-year-old Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn, reports WISN. Jessica McBride is also being accused of breaching journalistic ethics because she wrote a glowing profile of Flynn at the same time she was allegedly in a relationship with him.
Police Chief Edward Flynn admitted to having an affair with a journalist earlier in the year – but he did not mention Jessica McBride by name, however.
“I have done my wife and family a great wrong, and I profoundly regret the hurt I have inflicted on them and others affected by my conduct,” wrote Flynn in a statement. “I accept the personal and public consequences of my private behavior. I have damaged my public reputation and violated the trust and love of my family.”
Jessica McBride is not the only journalist to have had an affair with a public figure.
Lu Parker, an anchor for KTLA channel 5 in Los Angeles (my hometown), has been dating Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. (Villaraigosa seems to have a thing for journalists. A couple of years ago he had an extramarital affair with Mirthala Salinas, a Spanish-language broadcaster with Telemundo.)
Columnist Jame Rainey has added another angle to the obvious issue of a conflict of interest (how can it not be if and when Parker covers a story about or related to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa?). He believes that some journalists are “not content to be just journalists.”
He feels that one’s credibility as a journalist can suffer and “standards can be lost” if he or she wears too many hats (e.g., journalist, actress, author, etc).
“Doesn’t it seem odd to anyone else,” writes Rainey in an opinion piece about Lu Parker’s relationship with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, “that the same person can furrow her brow in the role of serious newswoman — chasing fires through the hills, announcing election night tallies and bemoaning gang violence — and then preen her way through a modeling video?”
Rainey makes some interesting points. And while the merits of having multiple careers can be debated, one thing is clear: it is a serious breach of journalistic ethics when a journalist writes what is supposed to be an objective story about someone with whom they are intimately involved.
Milwaukee Police Chief Admits to Affair, WISN.com
The mayor, the TV anchor and the News, James Rainey, The Los Angeles Times