Conflicts of interest can come from the strangest places. The Site C dam being an example of Provincial Government spending for no other reason to “create jobs”, but alternatives were never looked at, the environment was never thought about, and all sorts of groups of people are willing to do anything they can to make those understand how much of an environmental hazard it could become.
As a budding reporter trying to do a good job, it’s better for you to get to the heart of the story that to right fluff pieces about how great it is because you’re in a relationship with someone that works there. You’re willing to overlook things, or ignore problems, sacrificing how weird it is, to stay in a relationship that bleeds into your writing. (most times, it doesn’t sound like a great one either.)
This is what I’ve learned about conflicts of interest. Even if you’re in a small town news paper, never find yourself in a small town paper willing to fluff an article for others that don’t care about you as much as you’re willing to fluff. Then I half to read about it, and get exhausted.