I noticed with interest last week that we had many comments on our web site about the fact that the Star's attorney is also representing former Sheriff's deputy Claudia Valenciana, in whose home former Oxnard police officer Robert Perez Jr. was found fatally stabbed. (Ex-fiancée hires attorney after Perez stabbing)
It's not my place to talk about the substance of comments, but the level of interest brings up a point about why I included a detail in the article about Mr. Ron Bamieh's work for the Star:
Even when an association or relationship does not pose an actual conflict of interest, we as journalists are supposed to report it if it could create even the perception of such an issue.
Transparency allows people to form informed opinions about what they are reading. That's also why we source things to tell readers where information comes from.
You as a reader might give different credence to information that comes from court documents filed by a plaintiff, a police chief known as tough on crime, a non-profit dedicated to prison reform, etc., so as a journalist, I do my best to let you know where information comes from so you can make your own decisions about how to understand the facts I present.
Of course, in certain situations journalists do use anonymous or unnamed sources, and it's not going to be possible or necessary in every story to give the life history of every source and his or her associations. In this high profile story, I felt that the detail was important to include, and it clearly was of interest to a number of people.
For more discussion about disclosure and other topics, take a look at the Society of Professional Journalist's code of ethics:
SPJ Code of Ethics