News media skim past key sections of Norton resume

Reporters have to make choices in writing their stories because they can’t include everything. Stories about Colorado U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton, however, might be expected to include the jobs that occupied the longest period of her work life– the ones where she worked for a decade first as a government official at the Washington-based Department of Health and Human Services and then as director of the “Office of Strategic Partnerships” at Englewood-based Medical Group Management Association.

Here’s the Norton work history as provided by her campaign website:

* 1986-1987 — Norton served in the Colorado House of Representatives.
* 1988-1993 — Norton worked in the Department of Health and Human Services under Presidents Bush and Reagan.
* 1994-1999 — She was Head of the Office of Strategic Partnerships at Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).
* 1999-2002 — She was Executive Director, Colorado Department of Public Health.
* 2002-2006 — She was Colorado Lt. Governor under Gov. Bill Owens.
* 2007 — Named executive Director of the Denver Police Foundation.

Fox 21 in Colorado Springs described Norton yesterday this way:

Norton served in both the Reagan and first Bush administrations. She was also a representative in the state Legislature before becoming Colorado’s first woman Lieutenant Governor under Gov. Bill Owens.

Even for a short TV profile, descriptions of Norton should include the jobs that occupied the longest period of her work life (her years at MGMA and in Washington DC), as well as her noteworthy position as Colorado’s Lt. Governor. Both her private and public sector history should be spotlighted. That’s the most even-handed way to describe Norton.

Fox 21 selected a few of Norton’s jobs from random periods in her career. Why not include the five years in the private sector with MGMA as well as her public service? In fact, as I’ve noted elsewhere, Fox 21 isn’t the only Colorado media outlet that’s failing to describe Norton’s career accurately.

Reporters want to keep things simple and it’s not easy to guess what Norton did as head of MGMA’s “Office of Strategic Relationships.” So why confuse people? MGMA’s Office of Strategic Relationships is simply the organizations lobbying department. Norton headed up MGMA’s lobby shop– a fact readily confirmed by the folks at MGMA.

As for MGMA, it’s an association of medical professionals.

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About the Author

Jason Salzman

Former freelance media critic at the Rocky, he now blogs at www.bigmedia.org.
Jason@bigmedia.org | @bigmediablog

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