Ethics Code Revisions: Our Second Draft

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that justice and good government require an informed public. The journalist’s duty is to provide that information, accurately, fairly and fully. Responsible journalists from all media, including nontraditional providers of news to a broad audience, should strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Responsible journalists think ethically before acting, and make every effort to get the story right the first time. Integrity is the foundation of a journalist’s credibility, and above all, responsible journalists must be accurate. The purpose of this code is to declare the Society’s principles and standards and to encourage their use in the practice of journalism in any and all media.


Download the mark-through draft

Want to see just how much has been changed for this second draft of the revised SPJ Code of Ethics? Download a copy of the mark-through draft [PDF], which includes both the first draft’s text and the proposed updates as a comparison. Highlighted items are new, while items with a strikethrough mark are slated to be removed.

Latest update on the process

Read about the second draft, the process of putting it together, and how you can help shape what happens next.

The first draft

If you would like to review the first draft for comparison, these links can help:

Ethics Code Revisions: Our First Draft [Updated]
Original mark-through draft [PDF]

Seek Truth and Report It

Journalists should be honest, fair, and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists should:

Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Use primary sources to verify information before publishing when possible.

Gather and update information throughout the life of a news story to avoid error.

Pursue accuracy in reporting over speed of publishing. Neither speed nor abbreviated formats excuse inaccuracy.

Put information into context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify information in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.

Clearly identify sources. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.

Reserve anonymity for sources who could face danger, retribution or other harm for providing information. Consider alternatives in reporting before granting anonymity. Anonymity should not be granted merely as license to criticize. Reveal conditions attached to promises made in exchange for information. Keep promises.

When possible and appropriate, provide access to original documents and other information sources.

Diligently seek subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to criticism and allegations of wrongdoing.

Avoid undercover or other surreptitious reporting methods except when 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. Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek nontraditional sources whose voices are seldom heard.

Avoid stereotyping. Examine your own cultural values and avoid imposing those on others.

Support the open exchange of views in news stories and among news consumers.

Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be clearly labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Clearly label sponsored content.

Never deliberately distort information.

Label rumors as unconfirmed in the rare occasions it becomes necessary to report one.

Never alter or distort news images. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.

Never plagiarize. Disclose sources of information not independently gathered.


Minimize Harm

Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. Journalists should:

Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance, irreverence or invasiveness.

Consider the potential harm when seeking or using information, interviews and images of people affected by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects. Consider cultural differences in your approach and treatment.

Authenticate all photos, data or other information, including any gathered from social media forums, including those for which the source is unknown, or where there is uncertainty regarding the authenticity of the images or information.

Recognize that legal access to information differs from ethical justification to publish. Journalists should balance the importance of information and potential effects on subjects and the public before publication.

Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing private information.

Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity or following the lead of those who do.

Consider the implications of identifying juvenile suspects and victims of sex crimes. Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of online publication. Provide updated and more complete information when appropriate.


Act Independently

A journalist’s highest and primary obligation is to serve the public. Journalists should:

Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations that may conflict with an impartial approach to information-gathering and may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for news or access.

Deny favored treatment to advertisers and donors, or any other special interests, and resist pressure to influence coverage in any way, even if such pressures come from inside the media organization.

Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not. Distinguish news from advertising and marketing material. Shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.


Be accountable and transparent

Journalists should take responsibility for their work and explain their decisions to their readers, listeners and audiences. Journalists should:

Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.

Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly. Corrections and clarifications should be explained carefully and thoroughly and displayed with the same prominence as the original item.

Explain to audiences ethical choices made in reporting. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices and news content.

Disclose sources of funding and relationships that might influence, or appear to influence, reporting involving both journalists and their sources.

Expose unethical conduct in journalism by their own news organizations and others.

Abide by the same high standards they expect of public persons.

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New Code of Ethics draft available

Not long after comments from the first revision began pouring in, the group working to revise SPJ’s Ethics Code attacked Round 2.

That draft is now available here, and we hope you will take time to provide input before July 9. This will give the group a few days to evaluate those comments before it meets July 12 in Columbus, Ohio. On that day, it will hammer out what I would define as the first fully-vetted draft of the updated Code.


If you can’t provide input before the meeting, join us at SPJ.org on July 12. We will be live streaming the meeting, and I’ll be hosting a daylong Twitter chat (#spjethics) while the process unfolds. This will, in part, allow the group to consider real-time input from around the globe.

Moving forward, the draft that comes out of that meeting will be shared with members, the larger journalism community, the SPJ Board of Directors and, eventually, SPJ’s voting delegates during EIJ14 in Nashville. Before the delegates receive the draft, however, members will have the opportunity to cast an advisory vote during SPJ’s annual elections. The board will also make a recommendation to the delegates. Armed with board and member input, the delegates (which are the supreme legislative body of SPJ) will make the decision to accept the latest version, or send it back to the drawing board.

It’s entirely possible SPJ could have an updated Code of Ethics before October. It’s also entirely possible this process could continue for another year. Case in point, it took two years to adopt the current code.

But, back to the current draft:

Similar to version 1.0, subcommittees tackled each of the Code’s four sections: Seek Truth, Minimize Harm, Act Independently, Be Accountable.

Ethics Committee Chairman Kevin Smith opened discussion of Round 2 with the idea of moving away from the four guiding principles. Although the group felt the current structure of the Code remains important and relevant, the latest version does contain an updated principle: Be Accountable and Transparent.

In order to gain fresh perspectives on each section, Smith reassigned the subcommittees, and tasked them with sections different from what they worked on during the initial draft. Furthermore, he appointed different people within the group to lead each subcommittee. Smith, meanwhile, refrained from participating on any subcommittee – freeing himself to oversee the process and jump in as a reserve if needed.

The assignments for the latest revision were:

Seek Truth
Chris Robert, chairman
Fred Brown
Lauren Bartlett
Kelly McBride

Minimize Harm
Hagit Limor, chairwoman
Elizabeth Donald
Lynn Walsh
Irwin Gratz

Be Independent
Monica Guzman, chairwoman
Stephen Ward
Jim Pumarlo
Andrew Seaman

Be Accountable
Mike Farrell, chairman
Carole Feldman
Paul Fletcher
Jan Leach

On Monday, the subcommittees submitted their work. Smith compiled that into one document – the latest revision.

Since August 2013, SPJ has conducted a session at its national convention and sessions at several regional conferences around the country. It has accepted comments online (which actually started prior to Aug. 2013), and engaged the larger community via Twitter chats and other social media engagement. Many chapters have conducted their own programs, and passed along their findings.

This has resulted in hundreds of comments, which have been considered by the group to formulate the latest version. So, please keep those comments coming. We aren’t at the finish line yet.

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Opinion: Detailed Ethics Code good for journalists, not journalism

Three weeks ago, I dove head first into SPJ’s Code of Ethics revision process, which began nearly a year ago. The project is spearheaded by SPJ Ethics Committee chairman Kevin Smith. Therefore, my involvement hasn’t been necessary until this point.

But with something this important, it’s inevitable SPJ staff will be called upon to provide support. Mine came in the form of building a home base” for the process and curating comments from blogs, feedback forms, social media, and anyplace else I can find them.

Print

During the process, I quickly learned what the SPJ Ethics Committee has known for months: There is a fairly clear divide among journalists (including those on our own committee) about what the Code should look like.

One side believes the revised Code should be more detailed, providing specific guidance on how to deal with certain issues, such as suicides, bomb threats, social media activity and user-generated content.

The other side believes the revised Code should remain more like the Ten Commandments: a set of broad principles that guide individuals through the decision-making process.

I agree.

With both sides.

But if SPJ can’t do both, which path should it choose? (The reality is that SPJ could do both. But I don’t believe it should – and I’ll explain why near the end of this column).

Forcing myself to choose one path, I have come to the conclusion that SPJ’s can best reach its mission with a broad revised code.

I should be clear: I believe more detailed codes give better guidance for working journalists. They have the ability to provide more clarity in specific situations that each news provider is most likely to face.

In reality, this concept is not new. For years, news organizations have developed their own codes – often, using SPJ’s Code as a starting point. We encourage this.

If you conducted a poll of SPJ’s Ethics Committee members, I bet most would agree with the philosophy driving the Online News Assocaition’s DIY ethics code project: “No single ethics code can reflect the needs of everyone in our widely varied profession.”

So, why isn’t a detailed Code the right approach for SPJ?

Three reasons:

  1. Educating future journalists.
  2. Educating the public.
  3. Advocating within the profession.

Educating future journalists

Nearly every journalism student in the country takes some sort of ethics class. For many, it’s the first time they hear of SPJ. More importantly, this is often their first deep dive into the concept of ethical decision making.

SPJ’s web traffic is proof of this. Nearly every week, among our top hits are the Code of Ethics (2,500 last week) and our Ethics Case Studies (500 last week). Most likely, the majority of those visiting the case studies are educators and students.

When studying SPJ’s Code in class, students learn the basics of what’s acceptable and what’s not. More importantly, they learn how to decide what is and isn’t acceptable. They do this by weighing the different aspects of the Code – which are meant to serve as counter balances.

For example, it’s important for journalism students to learn how to weigh the concepts of “minimize harm” vs. “seek truth and report it.” In reporting a story about campus rape, for example, which principle outweighs the other? The public’s right to know so that it may protect itself or the victim’s desire for privacy? Understanding how to arrive at that decision is as important as the decision itself.

This understanding will become the basis for everything that follows regarding ethics. When they begin producing journalism professionally, it’s very possible they will work at a place that has a more detailed code. Hopefully, though, they will embark on their careers with a deeper understanding of that detailed code – and the instincts to weigh every situation with appropriate caution.

I don’t have my head buried in the sand. I realize many people practicing journalism don’t possess a journalism degree. They have never had an ethics class, and probably never will. In these instances, perhaps a more detailed list of “dos and don’ts” does work better – at least in the beginning. This is especially true of entrepreneurs and those producing journalism in other countries.

But, as I write this today, most outfits producing journalism in the U.S. are still hiring students with a journalism education. And until that changes, I believe a broad-based Code that can help develop a deeper understanding of journalism ethics and decision making is necessary.

Educating the public

Last year, 176,000 people visited SPJ’s Code of Ethics page. The vast majority of those visitors weren’t journalists. They were members of the general public. They came via search engines – most likely after keying in “journalism ethics.”

Judging by the calls we get, most want to know if their news provider is governed by set of industry standards – like lawyers and doctors. Many times, they want SPJ to censure and punish.

When these people visit our site, the first thing they read is the Code preamble, which states:

“Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues… ”

Intended or not, SPJ’s Code has become as much about media literacy for the public as it is about guidance for working journalists. One could argue, based on that first sentence, that SPJ’s Code exists mainly for the public’s understanding.

The arguments I hear for a more detailed code come from the journalism echo chamber – in a sincere effort to help journalists make better journalistic decisions. But, what about the public? Who explains our journalism world in broad context to the public? Would a different code for every news provider help the public better understand the basics of acceptable journalistic behavior? I would argue it does the opposite. It could give the appearance that individual news providers make up rules to suit their specific needs. Frankly, that’s the opinion the public has of us now.

This is why I think it’s incredibly important to have a broad-based Code – a baseline if you will – that is accepted by those in the profession.

This is the best way for SPJ (and others) to explain to the public – in the simplest of terms – why  journalists make certain decisions, especially those that are unpopular. My idea is no different than a corporate customer-service model. Customers may know the overarching philosophies of a store, but employees follow detailed guidelines that ensure those overarching philosophies are attained.

Of course, a broad Code without action is pointless. It’s time for SPJ to become a stronger voice in the area of news literacy. We need to engage the public in tough conversations. We need to help it understand our role. And, we need to drop any elitist attitudes and embrace what people expect from us. A perfect example is the ongoing debate of whether to identify killers in mass shootings. When these stories break, journalists decide what’s best for the public. But shootings aren’t new. This debate has raged for years. Yet, as a group we have no more clarity today than we did three years ago. Maybe it’s time to let the public decide – or at the very least make a case.

To that end, SPJ should serve actively as a go-between with the public and all those practicing journalism. To do that, we must have a Code that is universally accepted. That means, inherently, it must be broad in scope.

Taking back our credibility

One of the best ways to help restore credibility in our profession is to call out those operating contrary to widely acceptable standards. We must show the public that we hold ourselves to a higher standard.

For SPJ to do this, it must be armed with a broad Code that addresses underlying principles.

With this Code in hand, SPJ could more easily call out the unethical journalism that gives the rest of us a bad name. I envision a day when news providers actually care what SPJ says about its actions. Perhaps they think before they act, lest they face the wrath of the unified profession speaking out against their poor decision making.

As I said before, however, a Code without action is pointless. It’s time for SPJ to speak louder (and more often) against unethical behavior. A broad Code would be our hammer.

SPJ can’t do it all

As I wrote earlier, SPJ could develop a broad set of principles and also provide more detailed guidelines to help journalists. But, I don’t think we should. Frankly, others are already doing it – and have been for some time.

Just like every other journalism association, we have limited resources. For too long, SPJ has tried to be everything for everyone. It’s neither sustainable nor realistic. We need tighter focus for maximum impact.  SPJ’s focus should be on journalism as a whole.

Many other journalism groups already have detailed guidelines for their specialties, such as the Education Writers Association and Radio Television Digital News Association. There are many more.

SPJ should embrace these codes, and make them more visible to all journalists. For those specialties that don’t have existing guidelines, we should encourage and help the appropriate journalism organization develop them. There are about 60 journalism associations in the United States. It’s time we work together to make ethics stronger.

In the end, I envision a “networked Code” with SPJ’s broad principles as a pseudo preamble. It would be supported by various guidelines from other journalism associations.

Here are perfect examples from the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Center for Investigative Reporting. Regarding ONA’s DIY concept, I think it will be an amazing resource for those looking to create an in-house manual – specifically entrepreneurs and those new to journalism. As a side note, I have been asked why so many groups have seemingly competing ethics codes – and specifically why ONA, RTDNA and SPJ are revising their Codes at the same time. It’s confusing for many. But I don’t see these codes as competing. I see them all working in conjunction.

Under a collective approach, with a broad Code, SPJ could carry the torch on behalf of journalism and media credibility. Our partners would provide the detailed guidance so critical to a journalist’s work.

SPJ would educate future journalists and the public. We would call out the ethically challenged. In essence, SPJ would use the Code to begin the long process of restoring America’s faith in the press.

It’s a lofty goal. Perhaps unattainable in my lifetime. But if we want to be better tomorrow than we are today, SPJ needs a broad Code in its arsenal. And it must put that Code into action.

Joe Skeel is Executive Director for the Society of Professional Journalists. His opinion does not represent that of the Ethics Committee or those working on the current Code revision. Email him or interact on Twitter: @jskeel. 

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Troubled Times in Sierra Leone

(Editor’s note: I spent a week in Sierra Leone at the request of the U.S. Department of State working with more than 150 journalists from the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, the SL Editors’ Guide and the Independent Media Council to improve ethics and free press rights. I also assisted them with a number of association management issues.)

The question was a fair one.

“What do you see as the future for journalism in Sierra Leone, maybe in the next five years?” radio journalist Matthew Kanu asked as I mopped the sweat from my brow for the umpteenth time that oppressively hot day.

I gave a positive answer to the thousands of people listening in on the five Radio Maria Catholic stations carrying my live interview.

The real question is what will Matthew and other journalists make of their opportunities in this time? It doesn’t matter what I think, if I’m right or wrong. All that matters is what people here, journalists up front, work to accomplish in a country desperately seeking solutions to many obstacles holding back a free press and free speech.

For starters, imagine a law that can not only hold a journalist criminally responsible for an allegedly libelous statement but also hold citizens to those expectations for simply reading or listening to those words. A paper calls the president a rat. The reporter is jailed for libeling him, detained 10 days. You think, too bad for the journalist. That same law applies to any citizen who writes or speaks ill of another. And, if you are one of the many people who are seen reading that rat reference, then you could be arrested and charged with sedition, extending the defamation into the public sphere.

Sound absurd?

The people here think so as well. In fact, the United Nations and the U.S. government have told the Sierra Leone officials time and again that this isn’t an acceptable law in a democracy. They don’t seem to care.

“What if every paper said the same thing and then a large crowd marched to the jail, a thousand strong, and demanded to be jailed for reading something like that?” I asked, trying to make my point for solidarity.

Without a hesitation the response from many in the room was, “They would find space in the jail for a thousand people to prove their point.”

While here I’ve been diplomatic at times but outspoken often. I don’t think journalists should be going to jail for such nonsense. I don’t think any governance that claims to be a democracy should entertain such a law, let alone use it. I don’t think high-ranking government officials or mining companies should own newspapers. I think 63 newspapers in this tiny country are too many. I think too many journalists lack ethical standards, taking “brown envelopes” of money to write or not write certain stories. I think making up sources and facts in a paper and slanting every story for a political party is a terrible way to foster a responsible press. I think all of this and said so as often as I could when I held a microphone.

Part of the problem is that journalists need a solid remake of their ethics. In some cases, just a little understanding would go a long way. Bribes are common here. Journalists take them because many of them work for little or no money. High-ranking government officials own newspapers. The current and last two Ministers of Information all own newspapers. That they are barely profitable is of little interest to them so long as they exist to promote the party lines. Mining companies own papers and turn them into mouthpieces for their agendas. In fact, with 63 newspapers in a nation with a 35 percent literacy rate, many exist for no other reason than to promote political views and agendas. Many are difficult to read and understand and stories come off as glowing public relation releases.

The SLAJ understands that. They want to toughen the standards for journalists, starting with who can be one. Not advisable in my opinion, but understandable given they all get punished by the ethical police that is the central government. In fact, while I was there members were trying to address government suggestions that if journalists were more ethical, perhaps the government would be less likely to impose its criminal libel laws on them

I walked them through SPJ’s Code of Ethics and they adopted our four guiding principles and borrowed from our tenets. Much of what they shared with me has been in their Code of Conduct for more than 10 years. It’s not a lawless journalistic society, just one with more and more untrained journalists entering the fray and behaving poorly. It’s common for stories to be made up, for example. Most responsible journalists, like those who belong to SLAJ and the Editors’ Guide also support the IMC’s code which is more than 20 pages long.

But it’s not up to me to right these issues. I can advise, and I did a lot of that this week, drawing on my experience in ethics, media law and media association management. I appealed to their ethics, which many have, and I reached them with reason. Matthew Kanu and his colleagues with the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists are strong, principled people who want a better country with a responsible press and the choke of an oppressive government away from its neck.

Five years can be a long time under these conditions. My hope is that Matthew and many like him can make a difference. I know they will try. And, for my continuing part, I will support them any way I can.

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Ethics Code Revisions – Our First Draft [Updated]

Update 7/3/2014: Second draft now available

The second draft of the revised SPJ Code of Ethics is now available, and you can review it here.


When the 2013 Excellence in Journalism National Convention ended in Anaheim, Calif. last August, the work of the SPJ Ethics Committee really began.

Tasked with revising the 1996 version of the Society’s code, the 18-member committee wasted little time getting philosophically engaged. How much should we change? Shorter? Longer? More specific? More general? Keep, change or add to the guiding principles? What’s missing as we march into 2014 and beyond?

Update: Download the mark-through draft

Want to see just how much has been changed for this first draft of the revised SPJ Code of Ethics? Download a copy of the mark-through draft [PDF, 546 KB], which includes both the existing code’s text and the proposed updates as a comparison. Highlighted items are new, while items with a strikethrough mark are slated to be removed.

2014 Code of Ethics revision: What’s new?

Compare and contrast with some help from this quick overview of what’s changed in the first draft. [PDF, 127 KB].

Shortly thereafter, a subcommittee was established to incorporate the views of the growing populace of digital media journalists. After several weeks of work, that group made its recommendations to the committee-of-the-whole and work began.

In late January, the overall committee was divided into four groups, each responsible with revising a principle component of the code: Seek Truth and Report It, Minimize Harm, Act Independently and Be Accountable. Each group worked through February and into March to revise the code language. When members completed their work it was handed to another group for editing.

What appears below is the FIRST DRAFT of the committee’s work. We are posting it here and it will be made available to you in various mediums as we begin the spring regional conference schedule. You are invited to place comments here, with your regional or local professional or student chapter, or contact me directly, the Ethics Committee chairman at ksmith@spj.org

I can’t emphasize enough that this is an on-going process. It is our intention to solicit as many comments and recommendations as possible over the spring season and meet as a committee again in May to consider your suggestions. So, please comment. As we move this process forward, we hope to produce a final version from the committee in mid summer, giving members/delegates about six weeks prior to convention to read and consider the code that will come to this year’s convention.

So, enjoy the read. Engage and be a part of the process.

Kevin Z. Smith
SPJ National Ethics Committee Chairman

 

CODE OF ETHICS

 

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that justice and good government require an informed public. The journalist’s duty is to provide that information, accurately, fairly and fully. Responsible journalists from all media, including nontraditional providers of news to a broad audience, should strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Responsible journalists think ethically before acting, and make every effort to get the story right the first time.  Integrity is the foundation of a journalist’s credibility, and above all, responsible journalists must be accurate. The purpose of this code is to declare the Society’s principles and standards and to encourage their use in the practice of journalism in any and all media.

 Seek Truth

Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists should:

Aggressively gather and update information as a story unfolds and work to avoid error. Deliberate distortion and reporting unconfirmed rumors are never permissible.

Remember that neither speed nor brevity excuses inaccuracy or mitigates the damage of error.

Journalists, not sources, are responsible for the accuracy of stories. Verify information from sources before publishing. Information taken from other news sources should be independently verified.

Work to put every story in context. In promoting, previewing or reporting a story live, take care not to misrepresent or oversimplify it.

Clearly identify sources; the public is entitled to as much information as possible on source’s identity, reliability and possible motives.  Seek alternative sources before granting anonymity. Reveal conditions attached to any promises made in exchange for information. Keep promises.

Seek sources whose views are seldom used. Official and unofficial sources can be equally valid.

Diligently seek subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to criticism and to allegations of wrongdoing.

Avoid publishing critical opinions by those seeking confidentiality.

Never alter or distort news images. Clearly label illustrations.

Avoid re-enactments or staged news events.

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

Never plagiarize. Always attribute information not independently gathered.

Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience.

Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be clearly labeled.

Avoid stereotyping. Examine your own cultural values and avoid imposing those on others.

Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection. Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

 

Minimize Harm

Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. Journalists should:

Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort.  Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance, irreverence or an invasive behavior.

Be sensitive when seeking or using information, interviews and images of people affected by tragedy or grief. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.

Recognize the harm in using photos or information, including any photos and data from social media forums, for which the source is unknown, or where there is uncertainty regarding the authenticity of the images or information.

Recognize that legal access to information differs from ethical justification to publish. Journalists should balance the importance of information and potential effects on subjects and the public before publication.

Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention.

Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity. Avoid following the lead of others who violate this tenet.

Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects, criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges, and victims of sex crimes. Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of online publication. Provide updated and more complete information when appropriate.

 

Act Independently

A journalist’s highest and primary obligation is to the public’s right to know. Journalists should:

 Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations that may conflict with an impartial approach to information-gathering.

Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for news or access.

Deny favored treatment to advertisers and donors, or any other special interests, and resist pressure to influence coverage.

Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not. Distinguish news from advertising and marketing material. Shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.

Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

 

Be Accountable

Journalists should be open in their actions and accept responsibility for them. Journalists should:

Clarify and explain news coverage and encourage a civil dialogue with the public over journalistic practices.

Admit mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently wherever they appeared, including in archived material.

Expose unethical conduct in journalism.

Disclose sources of funding and relationships that might influence, or appear to influence, reporting.

Abide by the same high standards they expect of others.

 

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Quill Flashback: 21st-Century Journalism Requires 21st-Century Code

The following opinion piece originally appeared in Quill Magazine in April 2011. To read the counterpoint that appeared in the same issue, follow this link: Quill Flashback: The Current Code is Inclusive and Flexible


By Steve Buttry

The SPJ Code of Ethics absolutely needs an update.

The Code, adopted in 1973, was revised three times between then and 1996 but not since. Why would SPJ stop keeping its ethics code current when new tools, new opportunities, media restructuring and current events continue presenting journalists with new ethical decisions?

I have always liked the SPJ Code, because it combines simplicity with detailed guidance. Three of the Code’s four basic principles — seek truth and report it; minimize harm; be accountable — are clear, direct and seldom disputed. They remain the heart of good journalism ethics and widely accepted by journalists. The fourth principle — act independently — is not as universally accepted and is at the heart of some recent controversies. The update process should include a discussion of whether this principle needs revision.

The SPJ Code doesn’t address journalists’ opinions at all. Of course, opinions have never been regarded as unethical per se. Editorial writers and columnists were allowed to have opinions and voices, but many have advocated “objectivity” (a word that never appears in the Code, another thing I like) for editors and reporters.

In controversies over Dave WeigelJuan Williams and Keith Olbermann, you seldom hear the SPJ Code cited. In the debate over whether journalists should attempt to be objective or whether that is a charade resulting in what Jay Rosen criticizes as the “view from nowhere,” no one can cite guidance from SPJ because the Code is silent on the whole matter.

The Code’s elaboration on the principle of independence focuses mostly on keeping our distance from advertisers. Perhaps it’s time that SPJ take up the messy issue of independence from sources, interests, and our own opinions and personal lives.

The SPJ Code isn’t helpful in guiding journalists in the use of social media. When The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post released guidelines discouraging staff members from expressing opinions in social media, the resulting discussions did not cite SPJ because the Code offers no guidance on whether or how journalists should separate private and professional emails and social media.

The Code is more than those four simple principles. It elaborates on each principle in a way that is helpful for journalists trying to make decisions in a variety of situations. “Seek truth and report it,” for instance, is followed by 17 related specific pieces of advice. These explanations need updating to fit today’s context rather than when they were last updated in 1996. If 17 provided helpful guidance 15 years ago, would 20 or 23 points be excessive today?

On my blog in November, I went through the entire code, suggesting issues and, in some cases, language to consider in updating. I’ll do that here just for the points in the first section (on seeking and reporting the truth) that I think need the heaviest revision. The actual language of the Code of Ethics is in italics.

I’ll start with a suggested addition: The heart of seeking the truth is accuracy. I would like to see SPJ advocate that journalists use an accuracy checklist, as Craig Silverman suggests. Silverman notes thatchecklists are proven to reduce errors in crucial professions such as surgery and pilots. If we want to uphold the truth as a core principle, why shouldn’t we advocate a proven system to improve accuracy?

I used my own checklist, inspired by Silveman’s, in checking facts and links for this article. SPJ should adopt a sample checklist as a supplement to the updated Code of Ethics, encouraging journalists to adapt and use it and journalism professors to teach it.

I also think the obligation to report the truth entails an obligation to encourage reporting of errors. SPJ’s Code should endorse the Report an Error approach.

Journalists should: Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

This needs rewriting and expansion to apply to the way journalists cover unfolding news stories. I’d suggest something like: “Diligently seek out subjects of news coverage to give them the opportunity to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing. In unfolding coverage of breaking news, criticism or allegations may need to be published before a journalist can get a response. In these cases, the initial coverage should reflect the effort to get a response, and the response should receive prominent play whenever it comes.”

The update needs to go beyond the technology-driven changes to how we cover breaking news. It also should recognize and address journalism’s widespread practice of he-said-she-said stories that don’t get to the truth. The mere effort to report a “balanced” story with charge and response does not satisfy the obligation to report the truth.

Perhaps the Code should say something like: “The journalist should fact-check, seeking documentation, videos, eyewitnesses and people with first-hand experience (always remaining aware of individual biases and the weakness of human memory) to come as close to the truth as possible.”

SPJ needs to advocate fact-checking of sources as central to ethical reporting, helping journalists move beyond the balanced reporting of competing lies or especially reporting lies and facts with equal weight.

Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.

I don’t like the word “anonymity” here. Truly anonymous sources — people who won’t disclose their names even to the journalist — should never be used as anything more than tipsters.

It would be better to reword this: “Journalists should always question motives and know a source’s identity and background before promising confidentiality.” And I would add: “Don’t accept the condition that you would never publish the information; you must remain free to seek other sources of the information, while protecting a source’s identity.”

Remember Judith Miller’s absurd dismissal of responsibility for her inaccurate reporting about intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: “If your sources are wrong, you are wrong.” I think the SPJ Code of Ethics needs to state unequivocally: “Journalists, not sources, are responsible for the accuracy of the stories; you should verify thoroughly enough to refute false information from sources.”

I also think the Code should provide more explicit guidance on what to use from confidential sources and what to consider in granting confidentiality, something along these lines: “Do not publish critical opinions from people seeking confidentiality. People who wish to express opinions in the media should stand behind their opinions. Confidentiality should be granted only to gather important facts that could not otherwise be learned.”

SEE ALSO:

Update the Code? No. The current version works, says Irwin Gratz

Submit your thoughts: Update/no update

Journalists should consider power and eagerness in deciding whether to grant confidentiality. A powerful source volunteering information is trying to use a journalist and should be held accountable for what he or she says. A vulnerable source being approached by a journalist may express reluctance to talk at all without confidentiality. You still should examine motives, seek to get the source on the record and verify information provided, but this source is in a more acceptable position for granting confidentiality.

The Code should encourage journalists to use confidentiality as a means to find on-the-record sources and documentation that can be quoted. Quote the confidential sources only as a last resort.

Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.

I would add: “Where brief reports can present only limited context, use links to provide full context. In print editions, refer readers to online sources providing greater context.”

Never plagiarize.

Much as I love the direct simplicity of this passage, it’s no longer enough. I would add: “Be diligent in identifying sources of information clearly in notes, whether digital or paper. Sloppiness is never an excuse for plagiarism.”

But journalists’ responsibility to attribute goes deeper than cut-and-dried plagiarism. The Code needs to tell journalists to credit sources by name, not by vague descriptions such as “press reports,” “critics,” “a blog,” or by indirect references such as “was reported” or “reportedly.” SPJ also needs to note that ethical journalists should link to original sources in digital content.

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

 

I would add: “The responsibility to support this open exchange does not override the responsibility to report the truth. When sources are giving false information in support of their views, the journalist should fact-check and report the truth.”

Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection. 

I would add: “When reporting information from public documents, journalists should link to them or publish them online in pdf or other formats, so users can examine the documents themselves.”

An updated SPJ Code should start where the current Code does: Seek truth and report it. But the Code should address the 21st-century decisions that principle presents.

Steve Buttry has spent 40 years working in print, digital and television newsrooms. He presented more than 30 ethics seminars for the American Press Institute, focusing largely on the challenges of digital journalism. Contact stephenbuttry@gmail.com or @stevebuttry on Twitter. In 2010 he was named one of Quill’s 20 “Journalists to Follow.”

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Quill Flashback: The Current Code is Inclusive and Flexible

The following opinion piece originally appeared in Quill Magazine in April 2011. To read the counterpoint that appeared in the same issue, follow this link: Quill Flashback: 21st-Century Journalism Requires 21st-Century Code


By Irwin Gratz

I realized I was becoming an old codger back in the mid-1990s, when SPJ was debating the current version of the Code of Ethics. The new Code was being discussed at a breakout session of the SPJ National Convention, and several speakers warned that the Code was, in its language, failing to take note of the budding age of computers.

Technological developments, they said, were giving journalists so many new tools that surely the Code had to make accommodations for them, be they the way photos could be enhanced, or the new ways digital audio could be edited. That’s when it hit me. I raised my hand and chimed in on the discussion, saying that rather than the Code having to be modified to fit the new technology-enabled practices, maybe people using the new technology should modify their practices to conform to the Code.

Journalism is a very, very old business, and over time its practitioners have learned a lot of important lessons the hard way. SPJ owes its very existence to the idealism of college students who believed — correctly, I think — that poor standards and loose ethics did a disservice to the public.

But ethical standards aren’t exactly like the Ten Commandments. They have evolved over the years as we’ve learned that while credibility and truth-telling are paramount, sometimes it’s OK if the truth comes from people who won’t be named (see Watergate). And even deception has its place when it serves to root out corruption (e.g. “Mirage Bar and Grill” set up by Chicago journalists in the 1970s who snagged city inspectors seeking bribes) or the public safety (e.g. when ABC had someone apply for a job at supermarket chain Food Lion in the 1990s, then use a hidden camera to record dangerous food handling practices). But we’ve also learned that a staple of the news business, crime reporting, really does affect real people — mothers, fathers, children of victims who can be hurt by what we write and helped if we exert some restraint in the gratuitous publishing of facts just because we have them.

The Code of Ethics SPJ adopted in 1996 reflects these lessons. It has very few absolutes (deliberate distortion of facts, distortion of news content and photos, and plagiarism to name the only three). The “shoulds” and “avoids” in our Code recognize the enormous range of situations journalists can find themselves in as they chronicle human behavior. The triumph of the 1996 Code over its predecessor is its ability to state ethical journalism principles without tying the hands of journalists as they go about their daily work.

More than anything, the Code is a road map journalists can follow when confronted with an ethical dilemma, framing the questions but ultimately leaving the difficult task of decision-making in the hands of the only people truly qualified to make those ethical decisions: the journalists who will have to live with them. And the Code points out that journalists should be accountable for their actions. When I discuss the Code with students, I tell them the goal in ethical decision-making is reaching a decision and being able to explain your justification for that decision. And, I add, you have to realize that after your explanation, some people will continue to disagree with you.

Since 1996, there have been additional calls to modify the Code. I initiated one such discussion in 2002 (“Does the SPJ code need a wartime update?” Quill, April 2002). At the time, I was asking whether we needed specific language to justify the convention that reporters don’t report on troop movements, or how do reporters “act independently” without being guilty of being un-patriotic? At that time, members of the Ethics Committee believed our Code language would enable those reporting war to answer such questions; no other SPJ members proposed a change in language, and none was adopted.

Now the update question is being asked again. Certainly new channels for journalism have formed in the past decade or so, and older forms appear to be in decline. But what does that mean for the Society’s Code of Ethics? I still insist: very little. Journalism, at least responsible journalism of the kind SPJ has long advocated for, is still a desirable goal, and you reach that goal through the traditional methods: viewing things for yourself, interviewing people, reading documents. In that process, all the old ethical dilemmas arise, such as when to report and when to hold back for more corroboration; how to balance the public right to know with individual privacy rights; and how far to go in offering individuals a right to respond to elements in a story.

It is suggested that the accelerated news cycle requires the Code to be more insistent about obtaining reaction from targets of news and more explicit about efforts made to contact individuals in any story that’s run.

SEE ALSO:

Update the Code? Yes, absolutely, says Steve Buttry

Submit your thoughts: Update/no update

The Code addresses these matters, though not always specifically. It is a strength of the Code to speak in generalities, since the specifics of most cases are different, and ultimately individual reporters and editors, in whatever medium they do their journalism, will be held responsible for their decisions.

I am still waiting to hear what is so fundamentally different about Web journalism. Is it that news and opinion mix so freely online? That once happened in newspapers too, but journalists following our Code and others like it learned the value in “distinguishing” between advocacy and news reporting. The best Web journalists will do likewise and benefit from it. There is room for those who mix news with commentary so long as they follow the Code’s admonition to label it as such and not misrepresent facts or context. Many “alternative” newspapers have done this well for years.

One of our past national presidents, Fred Brown, recently argued that the Code contains evidence that the Society tried too hard in its last iteration to cater to the specifics of existing journalism technology. Specifically, he cites a passage where the Code urges “that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent.” Indeed, the Internet revolution is giving new meaning to the term “headline,” and “images” is probably more appropriate now than “video” or “photos.” Fred’s point is that when it comes to a document like the Code, simpler is often better.

I’m not averse to making changes to our Code of Ethics. But having worked with it and worked to explain it over these past 15 years, I’ve found it to be a most helpful, inclusive and flexible document. It speaks to great principles of journalism. The way news gets told in America, and around the world, is certainly changing, in ways few of us could have hardly imagined. But I have waited, so far in vain, for evidence that journalism itself is changing in fundamental ways that require us to make major changes to the Code.

Irwin Gratz is a member of the Ethics Committee and is a past national SPJ president. He works as “Morning Edition” producer for Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

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The value of an ombudsman

It was reported once more this past weekend that the Washington Post is considering getting rid of its ombudsman position of 43 years. Current ombudsman Patrick Pexson moved the story past the rumor stage with his Sunday column http://www.washingtonpost.com/patrick-b-pexton/2011/02/24/ABkLhYN_page.html  Pexson said newly installed executive editor Marty Baron believes there are plenty of avenues already in place for addressing criticism of the Post and, with tightening budgets, the salary didn’t make sense.

“There is ample criticism of our performance from outside sources, entirely independent of the newsroom, and we don’t pay their salaries,” Pexson quotes Baron as saying.

Granted, ombudsmen have been dying off at a steady rate since the 1970s, but they’ve always had an important and revered position with the largest of America’s newspapers. The Post’s ombudsman has been a position of great inspiration and purpose for one of America’s greatest media institutions.

Herein lie my concerns: First, allowing those outside the newsroom to be the sole source of criticism for your publication isn’t the same as having internal checks and balances with self-imposed accountability. Second, if Baron and others think that they can manage the task of addressing criticism by using in-position editors they are missing the entire value of having an ombudsman. Allowing subjective editors to replace an independent ethicist becomes nothing more than a whitewashing effort to resolve complaints. By allowing the alleged offenders within the newsroom to help serve, even in a small way, as the judge and jury means you are eroding the very credibility you hope to attain with a separate reader advocate.

I’ve learned a lot from my 20 years on the SPJ Ethics Committee. Something that has always struck me as odd is this ill-conceived notion that people who become editors are suddenly bestowed with indelible, sage moral reasoning. You see in many newsrooms editors deemed the best purveyors of ethics.  But, if that were the case, most ethically suspect material would never make it before the public, assuming review by these moral mastodons. We’d have no case studies to analyze; we’d need no code of ethics. We’d simply leave it to the moral attributes of a few who are in power by virtue of their longevity at the workplace or their abilities to get the most of a reporting staff or polish a rag tag piece of copy into a masterpiece of prose.

In this position as chairman of SPJ’s Ethics Committee I field numerous ethical complaints from the public. In almost every incident they call SPJ’s Ethics Hotline because they’ve already pleaded their case with the reporter and an editor but were ignored, spurned or told there was no problem. None of these papers have independent ombudsmen, so the verdict lies with the people who are being criticized. These have included cases where the reporter’s wife is campaign manager for a candidate, where an editor has lobbied in the paper to get a coach fired after he cut the editor’s son during tryouts. They’ve involved cases where they’ve refused to run corrections even after documents were provided to show the reporter made a factual mistake.

We then wonder why our moral currency with the public isn’t of much value anymore. And, now we have a great paper wondering why an independent, judicious voice is needed to lend credibility to its work and image.

Last fall, a young reporter called me saying she questioned her editors’ decision to pay for travel, hotel and meal expenses for a couple who were going to see their son in prison. The story focused on the tribulations of having an incarcerated family member. They asked the couple to be a part of the story. The couple wanted paid, and the paper agreed to send them 100 miles away to visit their son. The couple ran up room, meals and bar bills the paper paid. When this young reporter, a year removed from college, questioned the ethics of the editors, she said she was informed “this is way things get done in journalism” and if she didn’t like it, she might want to look elsewhere for a job. And, if she brought it up again, she’d need to. This type of ethical decision making is more common in American newsrooms than we want to admit. And, this is the moral reasoning we are pleased to show the public whose interests we claim to be serving?

In a journalism world where hollowed-out excuses are readily used as foundational support for ethical decision making, why would a newspaper with the reputation of the Washington Post consider removing the very underpinning of integrity and credibility from its news coverage? Granted the Post is assailed every day for its decisions, just like most of America’s media. But, until now, it has never considered allowing those who could be breaking ethical standards to sit in judgment of themselves.

 

(Smith is chairman of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee. He served as chair from 1994-96 and 2010-present. He is the former president of SPJ (2009-10). He currently teaches journalism ethics at the University of Dayton.

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The price of plagiarism

This post is written by Andrew M. Seaman, who is a member of SPJ’s ethics committee.

The decision by the Knight Foundation to pay Jonah Lehrer, who has admitted fabricating quotes and duplicating material, $20,000 for a speech brought swift ire from many journalists.

I join that disappointed chorus; the Knight Foundation’s choice to use its money in this way is antithetical to its long tradition of advancing the field on so many fronts. But it’s also important to remember that plagiarism and shoddy journalism’s price tag is much higher than $20,000. Thieves and fabricators cost us much more through collateral damage.

Every day, journalists work hard to explain the world. While some of them are bad apples, the vast majority hold true to the Society of Professional Journalists’ first ethical tenet: seek truth and report it.

Admittedly, it’s getting harder and harder to do that, especially with decreasing support from many news organizations that live by the motto: do more with less.

And while most good journalists are recognized internally by their editors and colleagues for their hard work, only a few – Cronkite, Murrow, Woodward and Bernstein – will become household names with the public.

Still, journalists show up each day to do their work and report on everything from local school board meetings to civil wars.

But just because a report is broadcast, printed or posted doesn’t mean people will watch, listen, read or click. No, journalists need to earn their audience’s trust before they do that.

Much of that trust belongs to the individual news organization, but another sizable portion is owned by the entire profession.

For example, when Gallup conducts its annual poll about the media, it lumps all newspapers, broadcasts and websites together under mass media. There is nothing wrong with that, but it means every journalist is responsible for maintaining that trust.

In September 2012, the number of Americans who distrusted mass media reached 60 percent, according to Gallup. That’s the lowest level of trust in over 15 years of available data. The last time the annual poll showed a majority of Americans trusting the media was 2006.

When people like Jonah Lehrer, Jayson Blair, Stephen Glass and Janet Cooke come along, it’s like bomb. It doesn’t just ruin their careers and reputations; it also hits journalism’s collective trust.

Take Stephen Glass, who was caught fabricating stories at The New Republic, as an example. He was not just found out; his rise and fall was also turned into a movie that starred Hayden Christensen.

Jayson Blair, who was caught fabricating stories at The New York Times, had his deceptions chronicled in a lengthy front-page story. The same goes for Jack Kelley with USA TODAY.

There’s nothing wrong with movies or explaining a plagiarist’s or fabricator’s deceptions, but these examples show how easy it is for the average person to start questioning and distrusting every story from The New York Times, USA TODAY or any other media organization.

Some people may offer excuses for what these people did. Perhaps the stress was too much for them? Maybe they couldn’t find the stories they once did? I don’t know why they did what they did, and frankly I don’t care. There is no excuse for deception.

When a person consciously steals another person’s work or invents their own reality, they do not just ruin their career. They damage the reputation of every journalist doing hard and honest work – from those covering the school board meetings to those in the middle of war zones.

I don’t think it’s possible to put a price on that damage.

So, why am I angry that the Knight Foundation gave Jonah Lehrer $20,000 to speak? It’s because I don’t understand why anyone would give money to someone who has already taken so much.

Additional Information:

“Knight CEO regrets paying plagiarist” http://hrld.us/Yj8SvX

Jonah Lehrer’s speech: http://bit.ly/Yj90M2

Jonah Lehrer’s latest tweet:

 

 

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Share your newsroom’s plagiarism policy

Representatives from some of the most prominent journalism organizations are confronting the industry’s struggle with plagiarism and fabrication. To better understand the issue, we want to hear from the nation’s newsrooms about their policies aimed at eradicating such behavior.

The mission started when Craig Silverman, author of Regret the Error and a Poynter adjunct faculty member, detailed ten episodes of plagiarism during what he labeled “journalism’s summer of sin,” and challenged journalism’s professional organizations to work together to attack the problem.

The challenge was taken up by Teresa Schmedding, president of the American Copy Editors Society, who talked about the idea during her workshop presentation in September at Excellence in Journalism. SPJ President Sonny Albarado committed the society to participate.

Schmedding began her letter of invitation to the committee with a stark assessment, “Plagiarism and fabrication are killing us.”

A committee with journalists and journalism educators, including representatives of the American Copy Editors Society, the Associate Press Media Editors, the American Society of News Editors, College Media Advisers, the Online News Association and the Radio Television Digital News Association.

President Albarado and Ethics Committee Chair Kevin Smith asked me to represent the Society of Professional Journalists on the committee. The committee has been divided into three subcommittees, each looking at a different aspect of the issue.

William G. Connolly, a retired senior editor of The New York Times, is leading the committee effort. Connolly is a founding member of the American Copy Editors Society and has served as the president of its education fund.

The goal is to create an e-book that would define practical guidelines for preventing, detecting and responding to plagiarism and fabrication. The plan is for the e-book to be ready for a summit meeting that will be part of the ACES national conference in St. Louis on Friday, April 5.

Silverman, who is also a member of the committee, asked Poynter readers for help recently:

“ 1. We’d like to collect examples of newsroom policies that talk about plagiarism and fabrication. What do you tell your people about what is and isn’t plagiarism? Do you have ethical guidelines that address these issues? We want as many of these policies as possible.

2. We’d like to hear from newsrooms that have instituted measures to detect and prevent incidents of plagiarism and fabrication. Do you do random checks? Do you use plagiarism-detection services to root out stolen content? Do you call sources quoted in a story? Any examples of internal practices or programs would be great.”

SPJ members who have examples to contribute should email them to Silverman at silvermancraig@gmail.com, and if you have questions or suggestions about the committee’s work, you may email me at farrell@uky.edu

Silverman’s original article, “Journalism’s Summer of Sin marked by plagiarism, fabrication, obfuscation,” including the examples, is available at http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/regret-the-error/187335/journalisms-summer-of-sin-calls-for-leadership-transparency/

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