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Category Archives: Ethics Code

Abide by the same high standards you expect of others.

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Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.

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Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.

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Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.

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Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.

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Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.

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Deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.

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Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. Identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.

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Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.

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Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

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Consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of publication. Provide updated and more complete information as appropriate.

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Balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know. Consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.

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Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.

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Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information.

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Recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.

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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.

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Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.

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Never plagiarize. Always attribute.

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Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information. Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.

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Label advocacy and commentary.

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Avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.

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Boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience. Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.

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Provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.

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Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.

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Support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.

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Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

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Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.

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Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.

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Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Explain why anonymity was granted.

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Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.

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Be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises they make.

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Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.

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Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.

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Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.

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Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.

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