Society of Professional Journalists “? Code of Ethics

Society of Professional Journalists “? Code of Ethics

It is a fact, in today’s world people cannot escape the overwhelming amount of information coming to us from multiple sources. Information is available to everyone; people who are interested in it, and others who are not. Markets are being evaluated one way or another by the reaction of people to the “news”. With enormous power at their hands, journalists must be ethical, and must report the news without being partial to it. This paper will analyze the four main sections of SPJ’s (Society of Professional Journalists) code of ethics. “Seek the truth and report it.” With powerful information at the journalist’s hands, this section calls for journalists to be honest, fair and courageous when gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists must seek the most accurate information and test the accuracy before bringing that to the public’s information. It calls for the journalists to avoid stereotyping, represent both sides in an equal way, and avoid misleading the public in any way. This action, while very specific for the most part, also leaves some room for “gray areas.” The fact that journalists are asked to interpret the information they gather leaves room for the reporters to incorporate their thoughts on the subject matter. “Minimize Harm.” In this section, journalists are asked to treat their sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings, deserving respect. Journalists are asked to show compassion to those affected by their stories. Journalists are reminded that “pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.” They are called to use good taste, balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights, and have greater sensitivity about identifying juvenile. Once again, I find this section to be very crucial to the ethical behavior of journalists. The area of concern I find in this section is that journalists are being asked to be “judicious about naming criminal suspects …


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