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.

The committee that revised the Society’s Code of Ethics felt the document’s tenets and underlying principles apply to all journalism regardless of how it’s ultimately presented. Still, the committee knew people interested in ethical journalism may benefit from additional guidance from the Society and other people and organizations.
Below are several resources that the Society’s ethics committee compiled to help people with day-to-day decisions. These resources are not formally part of the Code. Also, these lists will grow and change as more resources are found, or as resources become obsolete.

For those people who still have questions, please email the Society’s Ethics Hotline: ethics@spj.org


 

  • The Society offers a comprehensive guide on accessing government records. The campaign is called Open Doors and covers what people should know and do about accessing records that belong to the public.
    SOURCE: http://www.spj.org/opendoors.asp

 

  • The Society also offers several resources on its Freedom of Information mission page. The guides and resources include FERPA and other campus records, step-by-step guides and a database of local sunshine committees that work to ensure the public has access to information.
    SOURCE: http://www.spj.org/foi.asp

 

  • The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press includes information on so-called sunshine laws that ensure public business is conducted in the open. The section about sunshine laws are part of a larger resource on the First Amendment.
    SOURCE: https://www.rcfp.org/first-amendment-handbook/sunshine-laws