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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with public’s right to know. Consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.
- The clash between a defendant’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know is a conflict between the Sixth Amendment and the First Amendment. The American Bar Association examined the balancing act of the two in high-profile criminal cases.
- For a good case study in media ethics and identifying a suspect before he is charged, consider the tale of Richard Jewell, identified as a suspect in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic bombing. Columbia University provides an analysis of the Jewell story.
- Whether the discussion is about Jewell, or Stephen Hatfill, identified as a suspect in the 2002 anthrax mailings and later exonerated, many discussions about identifying suspects before they are charged will turn up the murky phrase “person of interest.” American Journalism Review took a look at this concept in a 2006 piece.