Editor's Note

So Long, Neutrality

NCARTAmong the most revered tenets of journalism is neutrality, or independence of thought and word. A journalist should not be swayed by special interests and should not take sides. If a journalist has a personal affiliation with an event, industry or person — if I’m interviewing my mother, for instance — I’m ethically obliged to state my conflict of interest so readers can take it into account.

So here goes: Mobility Management has applied to become a Friend of NCART. If we’re accepted (and so far, it looks good), we’ll pay our annual dues and take our place on NCART’s list of supporters.

While supporting the complex rehab technology industry, its professionals and consumers is an easy decision, deciding to part ways with journalistic neutrality is much more difficult. I believe a free and independent press is one of America’s greatest achievements and a crucial part of our nation’s system of checks and balances. I’ve been writing for publications since I was 7 years old, and have believed in neutrality for just as long.

But I also believe that trade editors — ones who cover a particular industry, as I do — should support their readers. I shouldn’t play favorites within the industry, but I can embrace the industry as a whole. I should support and serve you.

NCART is conducting a summer membership drive, and while researching, I learned how relatively few organizations are NCART members. The number was sobering given the challenges perennially facing both CRT professionals and the consumers who depend on their services and technology. I’d heard before that NCART needed broader industry support; now I know the actual black-and-white numbers.

Mobility Management’s impending “Friend” membership will not cause miraculous changes in CRT funding. I’m well aware that larger providers and manufacturers are contributing much more in dollars and cents than we are. NCART Executive Director Don Clayback acknowledged that in a conversation we had for this story. But Don also pointed out that NCART memberships are structured so that conceivably every entity — whether provider, manufacturer or affiliated stakeholder — can contribute according to ability.

If enough people and businesses do so, we can together bolster NCART’s ability to educate policy makers and defend CRT when needed…which, frankly, seems to be often.

Now I believe that occasionally, neutrality can be overrated. And I believe ongoing access to complex rehab technology is imperative.

At this critical time, when CRT access is perhaps at a crossroads, Mobility Management and I stand with our industry. Proudly so.

This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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