Get in touch with SPJRIers

As you may know, SPJ’s Reporters Institute recently wrapped up. The institute gave 3o-some young journalists a chance to learn from some of the industry’s best, as well as from each other. I will be posting an entry soon that will recap each of the sessions and, hopefully, give you some good tips. However, in the meantime, I encourage you to get in touch with any and all of us. Like you, the group is young and passionate about journalism.

On Facebook:!/group.php?gid=125571107462698&ref=ts (you won’t be able to join, but you can definitely get in touch with young journos in your area)

On Twitter:

And to prove we’re not scary people:

Attendees of the 2010 SPJ Reporters Institute (yours truly is back row, fourth from left, in the blue shirt. Meet me at

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  • Murphy888

    Good work. Sometimes PhD’s are used as primary sources on the history or character of a victim. Usually long ago child sexual abuse. How about including an explanation on why the victim wasn’t interviewed.

  • Fred B. Walters

    One of the points should be an obligation for editors and producers to determine priorities based on their own knowledge of issues and not be swayed by surveys of public opinion. It is assumed these gatekeepers to the airwaves and printing presses keep themselves well-informed on matters of public impact.

  • Ellen Eldridge

    Looks good!

  • Maureen Nevin Duffy

    Re: Pursue accuracy in reporting over speed of publication. Neither

    speed nor abbreviation formats excuse inaccuracy. [Are there similar requirements of editors? Most working journalists today are painfully aware of the type of pressure being applied, which puts speed as the main virtue. Of course, editors expect accuracy, too. But we have only to view the end-results in publications as prestigious as the “Gray Lady” to see which master — speed or accuracy — wins out most often. Ever observe the expanding nature of the corrections box? I think some genuine guidance here would be useful. And telling writers not to sacrifice accuracy without telling editors what is reasonable and really possible, and supporting writers, might go a long way here.]

  • John McClelland

    The advice to give corrections “the same prominence” as the original item surely gets widely ignored as hopelessly impractical. I recall _once_ in 20 years doing a follow-up story, a corrective rehash with little new info, to provide a platform for a headline similar to that on the original story. Other than a brokered deal to defuse litigation (this was not), who would even consider that now? Seek a better phrase, something like “with prominence appropriate to….”
    Corrections now need to be linked to lingering online versions of the originals. Some organizations do this reasonably well, considering. Too many probably do not even try. Find a way to encourage it.

  • Jacob Kanclerz

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

    Not sure how I feel about enshrining this in the code. What was the rationale for including this, and how many people felt strong enough to add it? I can understand the intent, given what we’ve seen breaking news coverage in this Twitter age. My only rebuttal would be that the Code sets a very high ethical bar in general. I feel like we’re lowering the bar a bit here to fit current trends in news delivery.

    I do like most of the new Code. It feels much more relevant and the additions fit for the digital age look great.

  • JHamer

    The original code said: “Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.” That sentence was deleted in the revised drafts. It should be reinstated. Journalists should actively seek and encourage feedback, criticism and suggestions from the public. Yes, sometimes it is unpleasant and annoying. But it is essential to earning public trust in the long run. Journalists are widely perceived as people who “can dish it out, but can’t take it.” They should be totally transparent about themselves, absolutely accountable if they make mistakes, and fully open to other points of view. SPJ should also form an Ethics Oversight Committee to publicly adjudicate complaints against media organizations or individual journalists in certain cases, if the complaints cannot be resolved in any other way. I say this as one who ran the Washington News Council for the past 15 years, where we heard complaints against media organizations in open public hearings. The SPJ Ethics Code was our “gold standard,” and we often quoted from it at the hearings. If SPJ is unwilling to “enforce” its own code, then the code will be seen as essentially meaningless, no matter how it is rewritten and revised. See for details.


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