Norton’s missing years II

If you’re a reporter, and you’re writing a few sentences about U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton’s career, what do you leave out from list below?

  • 1986-1987 — Norton served in the Colorado House of Representatives.
  • 1998-1993 — Norton worked in the Department of Health and Human Services under Presidents Bush and Reagan.
  • 1994-1999 — She was Head of the Office of Strategic Partnerships at Management Group Management Association (MGMA).
  • 1999-2002 — She was Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Health.
  • 2002-2006 — She was Colorado Lt. Governor under Gov. Bill Owens.
  • 2007 — Named executive Director of the Denver Police Foundation.

Fox 21 in Colorado Springs described Norton yesterday this way:

Norton served in both the Reagan and first Bush administrations. She was also a representative in the state Legislature before becoming Colorado’s first woman Lieutenant Governor under Gov. Bill Owens.

Even for a short TV profile, descriptions of Norton should include her jobs that occupied the longest period of her work life (her years at MGMA and in Washington DC), as well as her noteworthy position as Colorado’s Lt. Governor. Both her private and public sector history should be spotlighted. That’s the most even-handed way to describe Norton.

In the example above, Fox 21 selected a few of Norton’s jobs from random periods in her career. If the random approach is used, we should hear about her five years in the private sector with MGMA as well as her public service.

Reporters want to keep things simple, and you can predict that many people will have no clue what Norton did when she headed MGMA’s “Office of Strategic Releationships.” So a reporter might ask, why confuse people? Well, here’s what MGMA’s Office of Strategic Relationships is: the lobbying department. Norton headed up MGMA’s lobbying department–a fact readily confirmed by the folks at MGMA.

As for MGMA, it’s an association of medical professionals.

Fox 21 isn’t the only Colorado media outlet that’s failing to describe Norton’s career fairly. There’s plenty of time for reporters to give us a full picture of Jane Norton, even in the most truncated of bios.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.