Media Ethics: SPJ (Journalist) Code of Ethics

Terms in this set (4)

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

- Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.

- Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.

- Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.

- Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.

- Be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises they make.

- Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.

- Consider sources' motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.

- Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.

- Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

- Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

- Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

- Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public's business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.

- Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.

- Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.

- Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.

- Label advocacy and commentary.

- Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.

- Never plagiarize. Always attribute.
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