…because I’m married. But I did have this running fantasy about interviewing Ichiro Suzuki for a story, during which he would fall madly in love and propose. I would of course have to quit the noble calling of journalism to manage his vast fortune and to raise our many little Ichiros. We would be the Posh and Becks of Japan. Maybe I’d even get a boob job.
My imaginary romance with a sports star might raise some eyebrows at TIME, particularly if sports were my beat. But covering baseball is a tea party compared to the contact sport of political reporting, and reporters frisk with politicians all the time. Check out this hilarious story by Laura Castaneda called “Romancing the Source” in the L.A. Times. It was A.M. Rosenthal of the New York Times who said, “I don’t care if my reporters are sleeping with elephants, so long as they aren’t covering the circus.”
But apparently that most basic of journalistic rules was lost on Mirthala Salinas, who remains on unpaid leave while the Spanish-language television network Telemundo decides her fate for dating Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa while she covered him as a political reporter.
Before we rush to judgment, Castaneda points out Salinas is hardly alone:
• Matt Cooper, then Newsweek’s deputy bureau chief in Washington, married Mandy Grunwald, a longtime media advisor for the Clintons, in 1997. He wrote about presidential politics while they dated. Today, he is the Washington editor for Portfolio magazine, and she is the chief ad strategist for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign.
• Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, began dating James Rubin, assistant secretary of State for public affairs, in 1997. They wed the following year. While she continued to cover international events, he kept his job as a spinmeister for the State Department. She remains CNN’s chief international correspondent, based in London, and he is a freelance news commentator and analyst.
• Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, dated Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan for 12 years before marrying him in 1997. Although she never reported on Greenspan, he was widely considered one of the most powerful people in Washington. She is still with NBC, and he retired from the Fed last year.
• Jack Welch, General Electric chairman, and Suzy Wetlaufer, editor of the Harvard Business Review, became romantically involved, although he was married, in 2002 after she interviewed him for a story. They wed in 2004. Today they co-write a column for Business Week magazine.
• Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell and television news reporter/anchor Marion Brooks had a four-year relationship during the mid-1990s. She is now an anchor for an NBC affiliate in Chicago, and he was convicted of tax evasion in 2006 and sentenced to 30 months in prison. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that some of Brooks’ co-workers avoided her when working on stories about City Hall, fearing she would tip off Campbell.
• New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial and CBS television reporter Michelle Miller married in 1999. Although they met at a news conference, she didn’t cover him after they became involved. Today, she is a CBS network news correspondent based in New York, and he is president of the National Urban League.
• Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.), and Philadelphia news anchor Renee Chenault married in 2001. She is still with the local NBC station and continued anchoring the news while Fattah ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Philadelphia.
• Pulitzer Prize-winning Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Shultz married Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in 2004. She still writes for the newspaper. However, she was widely lauded for taking a leave of absence when he launched his successful bid for the U.S. Senate last year.
• In Dallas, television reporter Sarah Dodd and Police Chief David Kunkle married in 2006. Because she is a City Hall reporter, cops are technically off her beat. Both still have the same jobs.