Journalism Ethics

Within the journalism community, Journalists feel the need to uphold specific ethical standards. The Society of Professional Journalists created a Code of Ethics broken up into 4 specific subsections. These sections include guidelines on truthful reporting, accountability, sensitivity towards specific topics, and independence.

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Since journalism is a profession that deals with ethics on a day to day basis it is important to highlight such standards. Truthful reporting- Collecting facts in a legal and formal process are important to any journalist. In addition, a journalist should always continuously check their stories incase their facts or sources change over time. Journalists should also be able to allow their sources to go unamend if it means protecting them from physical or other harm. It is also to beware of slander when writing about a source. A journalist should always present a story that has multiple sources and have information from the accused as well.

Accountability – Journalists play a role in uncovering the truth and by doing so, readers can continue to support them knowing that they are getting knowledge from a credible source. Journalists should be willing to answer questions that people may have about their writings, as well as owning up to their own mistakes.

Sensitivity – It is important for journalists to be empathetic towards their subjects and the topics they choose to report on. Many times people will not want to comment on horrible events, or when they do, it is important for a journalist to not be too insensitive. It is also important to understand how to respectfully get information from people from different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

Independence – Journalists shouldn’t work for bribes or favoritism. In our job description, it’s important for us to not work solely to please others and win their support. We are here to tell the most unbiased story as possible and allow people to make their own judgements. Once we start to bring opinion into our writing we no longer allow the public to create their own judgements.

  1. What interested you the most?
  2. I was mostly interested in the idea that regular citizens had more of a right to what the news should publish about them rather than know figures. I believed that the ideal would be opposite, as public figures are usually seen as the people who have more authority.

  3. What I didn’t understand
  4. I was confused about the technicalities of what was considered to be information that was a mixture of news and advertisement.

  5. What would you like to understand more?
  6. I would like to have a deeper understanding of being able to talk to subjects that have gone through horrible situations and telling their stories without being to impersonal or prying. I would like to also have a better understanding of communicating with other people. In addition I would like to understand more about how social media effects the credibility of facts in the journalism world, and how journalists can use social media platforms to relay information formally.

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