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Home > About SPJ > Committees > Ethics

Ethics Committee Roster

The Ethics Committee's purpose is to encourage the use of the Society's Code of Ethics, which promotes the highest professional standards for journalists of all disciplines. Public concerns are often answered by this committee. It also acts as a spotter for reporting trends in the nation, accumulating case studies of jobs well done under trying circumstances.

Ethics Committee chair

Kevin Z. Smith
Deputy Director
Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism
Bio (click to expand) Kevin Z. Smith has been a member of the SPJ ethics committee for 20 years. He is a contributing author to two of SPJ's Doing Ethics in Journalism case study books. He is the co-author of SPJ's 1993 Ethics Manual, a guide for developing better ethical discussions and practices in newsrooms. He served as chairman of the ethics committee from 1995-97 when the Code was revised by the committee. He is serving his fifth year as committee chairman. He is a former president of SPJ (09-10) and a former member of the national and executive boards (06-11). He has been a member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation since 2007. He has been a regular speaker, panelist and lecturer on journalism ethics and delivered talks around the United States and abroad since 1990.

Smith currently serves as a journalism lecturer at the University of Dayton (Ohio). He worked in community newspapers in West Virginia for 15 years before becoming a college professor. He has taught at West Virginia University, Miami Univeristy (Ohio), Fairmont State University (W.Va.) and James Madison University (Va.). In 2009 he was named a Distinguished Mountaineer by the governor of West Virginia, the highest honor bestow upon a citizen of the state. The award came largely from his work with SPJ and journalism ethics.

Fred Brown, vice chair
2862 S. Oakland Ct.
Aurora, Colo., 80014
Bio (click to expand) picture Fred Brown is a former national president of SPJ (1997-98) and is very active on its ethics committee. He writes a column on ethics for Quill magazine and served on the committee that wrote the Society’s 1996 code of ethics.

Brown officially retired from The Denver Post in early 2002, but continues to write a Sunday editorial page column for the newspaper. He also does analysis for Denver’s NBC television station, teaches communication ethics at the University of Denver, and is a principal in Hartman & Brown, LLP, a media training and consulting firm. He has won several awards for writing and community service, including a Sigma Delta Chi Award for editorial writing in 1988. He is an Honor Alumnus of Colorado State University, a member of the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame, and serves on the boards of directors of Colorado Public Radio, the Colorado Freedom of Information Council and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation.

SPJ Ethics Code Revision Project

In addition to the ethics committee, the following are taking part in the SPJ Ethics Code revision project:

Carole Feldman
Bio (click to expand) Carole Feldman is director of News Operations and Finance for The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., and the national education editor. She also conceived and is the overall coordinator of the joint AP-APME project Aging America, which is examining the aging of the baby boomers and the impact this so-called silver tsunami is having on society. In her current assignment, she is managing the budgets for the Washington bureau and the Broadcast News Center, working with the staff to help cover news more efficiently across all formats and facilitating training.

A 35-year-veteran of the AP, she has supervised coverage of a wide range of beats, including the White House, Congress, national security, the economy and health, science and medicine, as well as presidential and congressional elections. She was the news organization’s education writer from 1993-1994. Since 2008, she has been an associate faculty member of The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars, most recently teaching a media ethics course.

A New York native, she received a master’s degree in Journalism from Boston University in 1975. She received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Pennsylvania State University in 1974.

Monica Guzman
Bio (click to expand) Monica Guzman is a technology columnist for The Seattle Times and GeekWire. From 2007 to 2010, she ran the award-winning Big Blog at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, drawing a community of readers with non-stop online conversation and casual weekly meetups. After a year tracking Seattle news and culture at, the online-only successor to the P-I, she helped Seattle startup Intersect launch an innovative storytelling platform. In 2012, she began her tenure as a member of the National Advisory Board for the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and was selected as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community. She is vice president of the Western Washington Pro Chapter of SPJ, wrote the chapter "Community As An End" in the Poynter book "The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century" and has contributed to ONA's ethics guide

Thomas Kent
Bio (click to expand) Thomas Kent is deputy managing editor and standards editor of the AP, responsible for standards of fairness and accuracy across the organization. He is also currently leading the Online News Association’s “make your own ethics code” initiative. Kent has served as international editor of the AP; news editor of AP’s World Services division; bureau chief in Moscow; chief of AP operations in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; correspondent covering NATO and the European Union in Brussels; and reporter in Sydney, Australia and Hartford, Conn. He has served twice as a juror for the Pulitzer Prizes in international reporting, and is advising the Society of Professional Journalists in its ethics work. He was raised in Shaker Heights, Ohio, holds a degree in Russian and East European Studies from Yale University and speaks Russian, French and Spanish. He has taught and advised at Columbia University's School of Journalism since 1996, and since 2001 has taught at the Harriman Institute of Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs.

Jan Leach
Bio (click to expand) Jan Leach, director of the Media Law Center for Ethics and Access, is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State. She is also an Ethics Fellow at The Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Before joining the faculty at Kent State, Jan was editor and vice president of the Akron Beacon Journal for five years. During her tenure, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists named theBeacon Journal “Best Newspaper in Ohio” three times. As editor, Jan and her staff coordinated coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks, including publishing an “Extra” edition, and launching the “Fire Truck Fund” that raised more than $1.3 million for new safety equipment for the New York City fire department.

Jan came to Akron from the Cincinnati Enquirer where she had been managing editor for nearly five years. She also was managing editor at the Phoenix Gazette, city editor at The Arizona Republic, and held various reporting and editing positions at newspapers in Cincinnati, Findlay and Fostoria, Ohio.

She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in journalism ethics from Kent State.

Jan is a member of Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, the Akron Press Club and the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

Kelly McBride
Bio (click to expand) Kelly McBride is a writer, teacher and one of the country’s leading voices when it comes to media ethics. She has been on the faculty of the Poynter Institute since 2002 and is now its Vice President of Academic Programs.

The world’s largest newsrooms, including the New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR and the BBC, frequently seek her advice for internal decisions and quote her expertise in their stories. Until recently, she ran the Ethics Department and the Reporting, Writing and Editing Department at Poynter. Kelly is also the director of Poynter’s Sense-Making Project, a Ford Foundation initiative examining the transformation of journalism from a profession for a few to a civic obligation of many, the values of the Fifth Estate and the effects of technology on democracy. Kelly was the lead writer on ESPN’s Poynter Review Project.

She is the co-editor, along with Tom Rosenstiel, of a book: The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century, which features essays by 14 thought leaders and practitioners, as well as a new code of ethics for journalists and people who care about journalism.

Chris Roberts
Bio (opens in new window)

Lynn Walsh
Bio (click to expand) Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been working in investigative journalism for six years in Ohio, Texas and Florida. Currently she is a National Digital Producer for the 30+ Scripps news organizations across the country. Most recently she was working as the Investigative Producer at WPTV, NewsChannel 5 in West Palm Beach, Florida. She has won state and local awards as well as multiple Emmy’s for her stories. She loves holding the powerful accountable and spends more time than she would like fighting for access to public information. Her passion lies in telling multimedia stories that deliver hard hitting facts across multiple platforms. She describes herself as a "data-viz nerd" who is obsessed with new online tools to share information on the web and mobile applications. Lynn has worked for TV stations in Ohio and Baltimore as well as serving as an intern for The Today Show. She is a contributor to the Radio Television Digital News Association blog and serves on SPJ’s FOI and Generation J committees. Lynn is always interested in new projects surrounding FOI, public information access, mobile reporting tools, social media and interactive journalism.

Stephen J. A. Ward
Bio (click to expand) Stephen J. A. Ward is media ethicist and professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Oregon (UO) in Portland. Previous he was director of the UO’s Turnbull Center in Portland. He also has been the Burgess Chair of Journalism Ethics and founding director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prof. Ward is the author of the award-winning The Invention of Journalism Ethics, Global Journalism Ethics, Ethics and the Media, and most recently, Global Media Ethics: Problems and Perspectives. His new book, Radical Media Ethics, appears later this year.

Learn more about the revision project here.

SPJ Ethics
Committee Members

Lauren Bartlett
Bio (click to expand) picture Lauren Bartlett is currently a Director at Large for the Society of Professional Journalists, chairs the national Communications Committee and is a member of the Ethics Committee and the Finance Committee.
Lauren was a three-time president of SPJ’s Greater Los Angeles chapter. Lauren works in media relations at Southern California Edison and previously worked in media relations at UCLA, her alma mater.

Before joining UCLA in 2000, Lauren was a reporter in Los Angeles for 12 years, the last 10 of which were at the Los Angeles Daily Journal, the country’s largest daily legal affairs newspaper.

Lauren’s professional career began when she was a junior in high school and wrote a weekly column for the Contra Costa Sun. In her senior year of high school she reported for the Contra Costa Times. While attending UCLA she interned at the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and Copley News Service.

Upon graduation Lauren worked at the Los Angeles bureau of The Associated Press and City News Service, a regional wire service, before joining the Daily Journal.

Lauren was honored in 2011 with a President’s Award for distinguished service to the Society. In 2001, she was honored with the Howard S. Dubin Outstanding Pro Member Award for her contributions to the SPJ Greater Los Angeles chapter and Region 11. She has been a member of the SPJ/LA Board of Directors since 1996.

Elizabeth Donald
Bio (click to expand) picture Elizabeth Donald has been a reporter with the News-Democrat for over a decade. She is a mobile reporter covering Madison County, with an emphasis on city government, education and the environment. She is the News-Democrat's liaison to the Latino Roundtable of Southwestern Illinois, author of several fiction novels and writes CultureGeek, the News-Democrat's pop-culture blog.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee, Donald is a frequent guest lecturer at local universities on the practical applications of journalism ethics and the changing nature of newspapers in the 21st century. She has won multiple awards and currently serves as vice president of the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists.

Mike Farrell
Bio (click to expand) picture Mike Farrell serves as director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky and as an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. He began teaching as an adjunct in 1980 at Northern Kentucky University, continued as a graduate teaching assistant at UK in 1996, and has been a full-time faculty member there since 2000. He won the college teaching award in 2006.

He teaches reporting, media ethics, media law, journalism history, editing, media law, covering religion news and column writing.

He was a reporter, city editor and managing editor during a 20-year career at The Kentucky Post.

A native of Northern Kentucky, he earned his undergraduate degree at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. He earned his master's and doctoral degrees at UK, where he focused on media law. He is a member of the Bluegrass Chapter and co-adviser of the UK student chapter of SPJ.

Paul Fletcher
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief
Virginia Lawyers Media
Bio (click to expand) Paul Fletcher has been publisher and editor-in-chief at Virginia Lawyers Weekly in Richmond, Va., since 1989.

He joined the newspaper the previous year as news editor, after practicing law in Southwest Virginia for three years.

A graduate of the Washington & Lee University law school, he earned his undergraduate degree at the College of William & Mary and an M.A. in English from Emory University.

Paul has been a member of SPJ for 20 years and currently serves as president of the Virginia Pro chapter, having won reelection to a second term in June 2012.

He has won a number of journalism awards, including honors for editorial and feature writing.

He has been serving as interim publisher of Michigan Lawyers Weekly, based in suburban Detroit, since August 2012.

Irwin Gratz
Bio (click to expand) picture Irwin Gratz has been in radio news for nearly 30 years. He worked as a reporter, anchor and News Director for the number-one rated commercial station in Portland, Maine before going to work for public radio in 1992 as local anchor of “Morning Edition.”

A native of New York City, Irwin holds a Masters Degree in journalism from New York University. He has taught a college course on media ethics and has been a guest lecturer on journalism ethics and broadcast news writing.

Irwin has been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists since 1983 and has held positions as a state chapter president, a member of its national board and was the Society’s national President in 2004 and 2005.

Irwin lives outside of Portland, Maine with his wife and young son.

Hagit Limor
Investigative Reporter
Bio (click to expand) picture Hagit Limor’s other experience with SPJ includes stints as National President; National President-Elect; National Secretary-Treasurer; National Membership Committee; National Finance Committee Chair; current National Legal Defense Fund Committee chair; National Chair of Executive Director Search Committee; Board Member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation; and Greater Cincinnati Pro Chapter President, membership chairman and current chapter treasurer. Hagit also chaired the Online Voting Committee, which led to the vote to go from delegate to One Member, One Vote.

Outside of SPJ, she serves in dual roles as a professor at the University of Cincinnati's Electronic Media Department and as WXIX-TV's Emmy and national award-winning investigative reporter. Her abilities as a writer and reporter have garnered Hagit more than 100 national, state and local awards, including ten Emmy awards, a National Headliner Award, three national Sigma Delta Chi Awards and as a national finalist with the Investigative Reporters and Editors Association.

Hagit received bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University.

Jim Pumarlo
Director of communications, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce
Bio (click to expand) picture Jim Pumarlo spent 27 years working at small daily newspapers in International Falls and Red Wing, Minn. He served as editor of the Red Wing Republican Eagle for 21 years. He resigned in December 2003 and currently is director of communications at the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, the state’s largest business advocacy organization. He can be contacted at

He released a book in January 2005, “Bad News and Good Judgment: A Guide to Reporting on Sensitive Issues in a Small-Town Newspaper,” which was published by Marion Street Press in Chicago. His second book, Votes and Quotes: A Guide to Outstanding Election Campaign Coverage,” was released in May 2007.

He remains active in the newspaper industry through his consulting and speaking. He is involved in the Minnesota Newspaper Association as a member of its Journalism Education and Legislative committees. He is past president of the Minnesota Newspaper Foundation Board of Directors. He also is past chairman of the Premack Board which oversees the Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award competition, one of Minnesota’s most coveted and celebrated journalism honors in public affairs reporting. He serves on the hearing panel for the Minnesota News Council, which promotes fair, vigorous and trusted journalism by engaging the news media and the public in examining standards of fairness.

Andrew Seaman
Bio (click to expand) Andrew is a medical journalist for Reuters Health in New York. Before coming to Reuters Health, he was a Kaiser Media Fellow at Reuters’s Washington, D.C. bureau, where he covered the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

In 2011, Andrew graduated from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he studied investigative journalism as a Stabile Fellow and was named “Student of the Year.” Andrew also graduated with his B.A. from Wilkes University in 2011.

He’s won numerous awards throughout his short career, including being named a 2010 Tom Bigler Scholar for ethical standards in journalism, the 2009 Robert D.G. Lewis First Amendment Award, the 2009 and the Arthur H. Barlow National Student Journalist of the Year Award.

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