Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes, and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.

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:

  • Journalists carry the responsibility of what their readers, viewers and listeners are and are not exposed to in reports. The Society’s Ethics Committee tackled many questions related to grief, tragedy and victims in a previous position paper.


  • More and more, journalists are findings themselves reporting on rape. Often, the question is whether or not the story should name the victim. In this case study, the Society’s Ethics Committee take a look at one particular example.



  • While it’s more of an example of being overly protective of a source, the Rolling Stone investigation of a rape on the University of Virginia campus provides an excellent overview of what can go wrong when journalists do not act responsible when dealing with victims of sex crimes. The Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York issued a detailed repot on the case.