KITV-TV Honolulu reversed itself after it was criticized for accepting free
travel from a local agency promoting Hawaii.
Station newspeople planned to accompany Gov. Linda Lingle on a trip to Japan,
with expenses paid by the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau.
But after the story was reported in the Honolulu Advertiser -- including
criticism from academics and citations of industry ethics guidelines against
accepting gifts -- the station said it would pay the expenses for a reporter and
General manager Mike Rosenberg told Broadcasting & Cable the
station looked at the trip as similar to the accompaniment of the military on
training exercises, where the government provides transportation and other
accommodations, and not as an ethical breach.
Plus, the station saw the trip as providing a competitive advantage.
Rosenberg acknowledged that the publicity had caused a rethinking and the
change in plans.