Posts Tagged ‘Code’

The Road Ahead

Member of the SPJ Ethics Committee are pictured after the revised Code of Ethics was approved on September 6, 2014.

Members of the SPJ Ethics Committee are pictured in Nashville after the revised Code of Ethics was approved on September 6, 2014. (Credit: Robyn Davis Sekula)

The delegates of the Society of Professional Journalists had not approved a revision to the organization’s Code of Ethics since 1996, when I was preparing for third grade.

Recognizing the need for an update, the Society’s delegates at Excellence in Journalism 2014 in Nashville overwhelmingly approved a revision that resulted from countless hours of work, thought and deliberation.

As I begin my service as chair of the Society’s Ethics Committee, I want to explain the next steps in the process of adopting the revised Code.

First, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Kevin Smith, who sat on this committee for 24 years and served as its chair during the past two revisions. The revision and adoption of the newest Code would not have happened without his leadership. His work on the Code of Ethics – coupled with his decades of service as a member, committee chair, board member and president – made him the obvious choice to receive the Wells Memorial Key, the Society’s highest honor.

Moving forward, I hope to keep Kevin’s momentum alive during my tenure as chair of this committee, which includes Lauren Bartlett, Elizabeth Donald, Mike Farrell, Carole Feldman, Paul Fletcher, Irwin Gratz, Hagit Limor, Chris Roberts and Lynn Walsh. Monica Guzman and Fred Brown will serve the committee as co-vice chairs.

We will move swiftly to broadcast the Code to journalists around the world and the Society’s members. The text is already online and available in PDF format. Soon, printed materials for newsrooms and classrooms will also be available.

The Society’s chapters and members can also expect to receive emails soliciting feedback on which parts of the Code should provide additional guidance. We hope to create a rich repository of position papers, perspectives and case studies to support the Code and guide journalists in their work.

While the committee plans to include many of its own position papers and case studies, it hopes the Society’s members and journalists will add to this evolving library of documents and opinions.

Additionally, the committee will continue to serve the journalism community with the Ethics Hotline and several other programs, including an ongoing discussion on this blog and Twitter using the hashtag #SPJethics.

With the help of the Society’s members and the journalism community at large, this committee will continue to be the watchdogs of the profession’s best practices. Guarding these standards will ensure that the future journalists preparing to start third grade will have a trusted and respected profession waiting for them in 18 years.


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