Humble Talent was moved by the ongoing disgrace of the Washington Post’s handling of the two-year old “scandal” involving an ill-designed Megyn Kelly costume to consider the The Society for Professional Journalism’s (SPJ) Code of Ethics, which you can (and ought to) read here.
Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethical Quote, Fair Quote, Unethical Quote, Share Quote…”:
The Society for Professional Journalism’s (SPJ) Code of Ethics. Believe it or not, it’s actually a pretty good document. If journalists actually even pretended to give it lip service, I think we’d all be better off. A couple of choice snippets (although, really, read the whole thing);
Principle 1: SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT (If only).
- 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.
- Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.
- Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant
Principle 2: MINIMIZE HARM (This seems counter-intuitive given the weaponisation of journalism, but que sera sera)
- Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.
- Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.
Principle 3: ACT INDEPENDENTLY
- Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility
Principle 4: BE ACCOUNTABLE AND TRANSPARENT (HAHAHAHAHahahahahahahaha!)
- Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.
- Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations. Continue reading