I recently read the Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics for my ethics class, and I think – for all those non-believers – it’s a great testimony to the fact that there are still journalists out there who act ethically and have a value for professional integrity. We journalism majors have been made very aware of the world’s many reasons to hate journalists (even more true for public relations!), so we know we have a lot to work against.
However, thousands of journalists voluntarily embrace the SPJ Code of Ethics as the standard by which they do their work.
Go here to see what’s included in this code: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
Just reading this is a reminder of the many obstacles a journalist encounters when writing a story and the hard decisions he/she has to make. As a reader it’s easy to criticize and find faults in a story – you aren’t presented with all the other information that was provided, you aren’t working on a deadline and you aren’t dealing personally with the subjects or sources in the story. I think this code casts some positive light on all the negative things people have to say about reporting. It reminds me, at least, to have a little more grace.