Is Suze Orman a journalist?

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Bloomberg View columnist Susan Antilla writes about personal finance guru Suze Orman and her new debit card that she has introduced and explores the question as to whether she is a journalist.

Antilla writes, “Orman goes to pains in her disclosure to say she isn’t an investment adviser. O magazine calls her a ‘contributing editor,’ which sure sounds like a journalist to me.

“Meanwhile, Brian Steel, a CNBC spokesman, throws another possibility into the mix. Orman is ‘not a CNBC employee or a journalist,’ he said in an e-mailed statement, but the network does have ‘editorial guidelines in place to insure that the ‘Suze Orman Show’ maintains its editorial integrity.’ He didn’t respond to a question asking what the difference is between CNBC’s expectations of Orman and its standards for journalists, but did say that Orman will neither discuss her debit card on the show nor buy advertising time for it.

“Call her what you will, but Chris Roush, a professor of business journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says the public relies, in part, on the impression it gets.

“‘She comes across on her show as being a journalist who has vetted products and issues, and is speaking from a position of authority,’ said Roush, a former reporter for Bloomberg News.

“That impression can ‘keep the public confused’ when the same news organizations that hire professional journalists mix things up with ‘fringe’ people, said Kevin Smith, ethics committee chairman at the Society of Professional Journalists. Newsrooms generally have rules that prohibit journalists from selling financial products or trading stocks they’re writing about, Roush points out.”

Read more here.