“We are proud of our commitment to the community as we build the most sustainable regulated energy company in the country,” said Dominion spokesman Rayhan Daudani, noting that the company is complying with the law requiring the disclosure of who is lobbying. “Our clients do not pay for lobbying, civic, charitable giving and advertising expenses.”
The situation involving Morse at the Virginian-Pilot prompted a statement Monday from the Virginia Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, which educates journalists and the public on journalistic best practices and ethics and maintains a widely used code of ethics.
The statement said Morse’s conduct violated good journalistic practice.
“SPJ Virginia Pro Chapter views Morse’s conduct – writing pro-Dominion editorials for the Virginian-Pilot and the Daily Press while employed by Dominion – a conflict of interest and a violation of journalistic ethics “, says the press release. Dina Weinstein, president of the Virginia Pro Chapter, said it was important for its leaders to stress that journalists must remain independent, avoid conflicts of interest and disclose conflicts of interest.
Morse said in an interview for this story that he had not billed the newspaper for his work for several years. Asked about an unsigned editorial in 2020 defending Dominion Energy, he said he “may have” been involved but couldn’t remember. In the same interview, he said he did not write unsigned editorials regarding Dominion. Recalled that The Pilot’s editor-in-chief Kris Worrell told VPM he did it in December, Morse said Worrell “was absolutely wrong.”