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A reporter for the Beaver County Times has expedited his resignation from the paper following an investigative report published on Friday by the Beaver Countian that raised questions as to whether he was secretly planning a candidacy for state representative next year.

The Beaver Countian’s investigation examined an accusation by State Representative Aaron Bernstine that Beaver County Times Reporter Ryan O’Shea had pretended to be covering Bernstine as a subject of his reporting, but was instead actually gathering opposition research for his own future political campaign against the incumbent.

Such conduct would be considered a severe breach of journalism ethics.

Ryan O’Shea acknowledged he had not been acting on behalf of The Times when recording Bernstine’s various town hall events, but said he did not intend to give anyone the impression he was acting in his capacity as a reporter. O’Shea also insisted he had no plans to run for political office.

As part of its report, Beaver County Democratic Committee Chairman Stephen Dupree told the Beaver Countian that O’Shea had repeatedly spoken to party officials about running a campaign and participated in a prospective candidate training class in Harrisburg.

Beaver County Times Executive Editor Lisa Micco told her paper that O’Shea failed to disclose his activities to editors, “We have an obligation to be ethical and serve the public. The fact (his discussion with political leaders) wasn’t disclosed (by O’Shea) puts us in a situation that compromises our integrity and damages our credibility, and I don’t want that to ever be a reflection on anyone else at The Times.”

O’Shea had originally put in his two weeks notice on July 18th, telling his editors he was leaving the paper to concentrate on a startup company, but his resignation from the paper became effective on Monday instead.

State Representative Aaron Bernstine gave a statement to The Times lauding the paper’s commitment to maintaining high ethical standards, “Obviously, the Beaver County Times took action after Mr. O’Shea’s inappropriate behavior and I commend them for doing so. Their ethics are beyond reproach and this is an example of them proving that.”

According to The Times, Ryan O’Shea had only been employed by their paper since January of this year. He was a general assignment reporter primarily responsible for producing a daily Times Today video.

O’Shea told The Times that others had a more solidified view of his future plans than he did, “If in my mind a potential run for office was as formulated and definitive […] as it seems to be in Aaron Bernstine’s mind, in Steve Dupree’s mind, in anyone else’s mind, I would’ve left my employment at The Times long before […] I think people are more sure than I am.”

Following his expedited resignation from the paper, O’Shea released a statement via his Facebook page, saying in part, “While the opportunity to make a difference through elected office is intriguing, I am not a candidate for any position at this time. I will continue to gauge the best way to serve my community, and look forward to doing whatever that may be.”

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John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

42 COMMENTS

  1. Ouch. That admission of an ethical breach could not have felt good for the Times. Their article actually gave JP a promotion from “blogger” to an actual “website” and cites the BeaverCountian by name!

     
    • Having to print “BeaverCountian” in their publication and giving credit to JP was probably even harder for them than admitting the breach. Being forced to swallow their pride as they come to realize that this one man “website” provides far more examples of actual journalism in one story than their “newspaper” provides in a month.

       
  2. What does the BC Times know investigative journalism and ethics? Hell, they’ve been covering up all the court house bullshit for over 20 years. As for the supposed reporter, my money is on him to run “after being pressured by democratic committee”. Good as excuse as any. Don’t like Bernstein from what little has leaked or been printed anywhere. Two people of questionable ethics slugging it out in the fall. What more can you ask for? Again, hold nose and pull lever, same as you do to flush!

     
    • “What does the BC Times know (about) investigative journalism and ethics? Hell, they’ve been covering up all the court house bullshit for over 20 years.”

      Right on, equalizer13. Soft pedaling the news for their friends in government. Sins of omission.

      “Their ethics are beyond reproach…” Don’t get too sloppy in your sentimentality on us, Aaron. This was forced on them. And guess by whom?

       
      • Like I said before- Bernstine put out a press release that was full of lies and misleading statements. All of the local papers and press simply reprinted his own words and text, WITHOUT checking if it was actually true or not. THIS IS PROPAGANDA. I contacted the Times about it and they ADMITTED that they aren’t able to fact check everything they print because they don’t have enough staff for it! These local rags are good for nothing, and should never talk about “ethics”. And Bernstine the Liar talking about their beyond reproach ethics would be hilarious if it wasn’t so damn scary.

         
  3. Yes, BC Advocate.

    Bernstine gets his chance to dump on O’Shea. And he does. And Micco gets her chance to throw righteous indignation his way as well. The Times is vindicated at last! It is mutual pleasuring that is embarrassing to watch. J.D. Prose writes the article to put the last dagger in his back, and it is complete. Julius Caesar had nicer foes than these.

    http://www.timesonline.com/news/governmentandpolitics/times-reporter-leaves-paper-amid-questions-about-his-political-intentions/article_debe2908-70aa-11e7-aa6d-b310ea4dc807.html

     
  4. The Beaver County Times ethics responsibility to the public only when there backs are against the wall. And that is exactly where the Beaver Countian has put them.

     
  5. Does anyone even buy the Times anymore was at a local diner and seen them on a rack was going to buy one but with 5 pages and costing a buck was not worth it and for what they want for a online subscription ,surprised they are still in business. but the media does influence the population on public opinion so facts are a important issue for some and reporters should be honest and neutral on issues

     
  6. If you want to read the propaganda and lies and misinformation the BC Times Online prints for free (since their reporting seems to be worthless anyway), here’s what to do. 1- copy the Times headline (highlight, control c). 2- paste headline (control v) into google. 3- It will be the first thing to show up in your search. Right under the title/headline/search result, there is a little triangle. Click on it for the “cached” version of the page. 4- When you are sent to the cached version of the page, in the upper left corner is an option for “text only version”. Choose it. 5- Scroll down to bottom of page, full text of article and comments will be there.

     
  7. Lisa Micco said “We have an obligation to be ethical and serve the public. The fact (his discussion with political leaders) wasn’t disclosed (by O’Shea) puts us in a situation that compromises our integrity and damages our credibility.”

    Don’t worry, Lisa, the BCT hasn’t served the public, had integrity or credibility in many years. While it’s always easy to find someone else to blame, the fact of the matter is that you’re crying crocodile tears over this. If anything I would say that Ryan may have helped put the final nail in the BCT coffin – so consider it a favor since each of you there can move on and find a job better suited for your individual skill sets. Unfortunately, there are no ass kissing jobs posted on the county website at the moment but I’m sure with the vast experience that you have collectively at shoving your noses up the asses of others it won’t take you long to find more suitable employment.

     
  8. I’m just disappointed that this story has deflected attention from the Jimmy Cicco case. You know, the trial of the century.

     
  9. As far as investigative journalism goes, when I think of the BC Times my first impulse is to cry out – FAKE NEWS! However, anyone with a modicum of intelligence should realize there is no such thing as FAKE NEWS, only something one doesn’t agree with. Take the time to RESEARCH what you’ve read or heard and make up your OWN mind as to the veracity of the content BEFORE you cry FAKE NEWS.

    Freedom of the Press is something we take for granted, and like the Right to Vote, if we don’t stay vigilant it will disappear before you even know it. Subscribe to newspapers, magazines, ANYTHING, to keep Journalism alive. Even the pablum as served up by the BC Times passes muster.

    The major problem with the BC Times is the “appearance” of glossing over or conveniently missing the point on some articles for some unknown reason. Glad to see JD Prose is back on staff – Lisa Micco, use him wisely. And, thank God for John Paul, a REAL NEWS reporter of Investigative Journalism.

     
  10. Times always becomes pragmatic when $ I see at stake. Myron Andy Georgie taught them the hard way.
    But JP, where is your sense of fraternity for a bro journalist??
    Don’t like competition?
    SAD

     
  11. All I have to is all this is nothing but bunch of drama like really I rather just watch stupid videos and laugh well enjoying my coffee every morning then have to read the times and seeing what’s going on with the world because basically really like no one gives a flying f&)k just saying

     
  12. Yeah right, he didn’t give anyone the impression he was acting as a reporter…………………….It’s definitely common practice for normal everyday attendees of these kinds of things to ask the politicians if they can mic them………………….

     

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