One of the most basic and important tenets of journalism is to avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest. This is ingrained in our brains and our ethics code, and we go to great lengths to uphold this essential precept of our profession.
This principle came to the forefront when considering our coverage of Hopscotch Music Festival, a three-day extravaganza that starts Thursday in Raleigh. As a matter of transparency, we want to explain to our readers how we've handled the situation.
Unlike the previous three years, INDY Week no longer owns Hopscotch. When the owners of Willamette Week purchased the INDY last October, they did not buy the festival, which is now co-owned by Steve Schewel, who owned the INDY for 29 years, and former INDY employee Greg Lowenhagen. We have no financial stake in the festival.
INDY music editor Grayson Currin is co-director of Hopscotch. However, that role is separate from his position at the INDY, and he receives no compensation from us for his involvement with the festival. In the months prior to the festival, he did not edit or write about Hopscotch-related news; associate editor Peter Blackstock oversaw that coverage.
Currin also did not assign, edit or write any of the stories in this week's Hopscotch special section. Nor did he or anyone affiliated with the festival have advance knowledge of the specifics of our coverage, or see any stories before publication.
Blackstock is in charge of all INDY Week Hopscotch coverage, including reviews. He has directed our writers to approach their stories with the same enthusiasm and critical eye as we apply to other large and popular local events, such as the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival or Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival.
In its fourth year, Hopscotch has become a cultural touchstone for the Triangle, especially in Raleigh. We hope the organizers, volunteers, bands and fans have a safe and memorable festival.