I joined the Society of Professional Journalists almost exactly three years ago, although I began to subscribe to their local, regional and national newsletters (whatever was available) before then. It was through a local, regularly emailed communication that I met Wendy Hoke, who has been an unparalleled resource for expanding my knowledge of the journalism profession.
SPJ’s Ethics Week begins on Monday, April 22. The sidebar of the week’s front webpage provides links to many different resources that flesh out how ethics affect the provision of information to the public. You can read SPJ’s Code of Ethics here. Here’s SPJ’s explanation for the creation of Ethics Week: “We have established Ethics in Journalism Week as a means of placing a spotlight on our ethical responsibilities and reaching out to the communities we serve with information on what citizens have a right to expect from journalists.”
Ironically, it was through prepping for the Capitol Square show that I discovered that this coming week was designated as Ethics Week by SPJ. And so I had two reasons to review the Code of Ethics and think about how much, as a blogger and as a freelance writer, I follow the Code (it’s voluntary for members; here’s the organization’s answer for why the code isn’t enforced; not surprisingly the answer revolves around the same reasons bloggers often cite for why they don’t believe in having a blogger code of ethics).
Here’s good guidance about applying the code:
Our hope is that the public and other journalism professionals will have in our code the tools necessary to evaluate journalism behavior and hold journalists ethically accountable for their actions. Indeed, the code specifically calls on journalists to clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct, to encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media and to expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
Tomorrow, you’ll be able to hear and see for yourself my comments about how I’ve kept this code of ethics in mind – as well as others that have been adapted specifically for the bloggers and Internet journalism – as I blog, if for no other reason than because I started the blog (more than a year after I joined SPJ) as an extention of my writing.
Given that this is SPJ’s Ethics Week, I guess it’s as good a time as any to evaluate what I’ve done well and what I could do better.