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SPJ Code of Ethics
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Coded Controversy [Quill, April 2010]
1926 Ethics Code [PDF]
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Ethics Committee

Code Words: SPJ’s Ethics Committee Blog
– Get the Story Even in ‘Media Free’ Zones
– No Excuse for Assaulting, Threatening Journalists at University of Missouri
– ONA Unveils Ethics Project

Ethics Committee
This 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

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.

Monica Guzman, co-vice chair
Bio (click to expand) Monica is a Sunday columnist for The Seattle Times and a weekly columnist for GeekWire, covering issues in digital life. She was a juror for the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes, serves on the National Advisory Board for the Poynter Institute and contributed the closing chapter, “Community As an End,” to the 2013 Poynter book “The New Ethics of Journalism: Principles for the 21st Century.” From 2007 to 2010, Monica launched and ran the innovative Big Blog at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and, complementing news and culture coverage with weekly reader meetups. From 2010 to 2012 she developed user communities for Seattle startups like Intersect, Trover and Glympse before kicking off her Times column.

A member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers community, Monica emcees the popular quarterly community speaker series Ignite Seattle and is assisting the American Press Institute with a newsroom innovation project. Monica served on the ethics code revision task force and is an active member of the Western Washington Pro chapter of SPJ. She is currently serving as chapter president.

Fred Brown, co-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.

Home > Ethics > Ethics Code Revision Project > Code Revision timeline

Ethics Code Revision Project
Code Revision timeline

August 2013

– Aug. 2: SPJ's Ethics Committee began collecting public feedback on state of current code.
– Aug. 25: Town Hall discussion on possible revision at EIJ13.

September 2013

– SPJ President David Cuillier directed the SPJ Ethics Committee to solicit feedback and craft an update that SPJ delegates could consider at EIJ14 in Nashville.
– A digital subcommittee was formed to provide input on the code revision.

January 2014

– After recruiting the code revision working group (made up of committee members and other experts) and accepting feedback for four months, Ethics Committee chairman Kevin Smith divided the group into four groups, each responsible for taking first crack at a corresponding section in the code: Seek Truth and Report It, Minimize Harm, Act Independently and Be Accountable.

March 2014

– Group work was compiled into a first revision.

March-May 2014

– The revision was discussed (and comments were encouraged) at various SPJ Spring Conferences around the country.

May-June 2014

– Ongoing outreach for members and non-members to comment on the first revision. Methods of outreach include (but are not limited to) Twitter chats, social media messages, internal SPJ communications, press releases and more.

June 30 2014

– Deadline for first comment period.

July 3, 2014

Second revision released.

July 11-13, 2014

– Working group will meet in person to distill all comments and update the latest draft. Meeting will be streamed live, comments will be accepted during the meeting.

August 2014

– Working group will present latest draft to SPJ board and others for feedback.
– SPJ's board of directors will meet to discuss the latest draft and make possible recommendation to EIJ14 delegates. They also hope to garner feedback on the draft from ethics experts and ombudsmen outside of SPJ.

September 2014

– SPJ members will be asked to cast non-binding, advisory votes during the election processes to gauge satisfaction with the latest revision.
– A session will be conducted during EIJ14 in Nashville to solicit more input.
– At EIJ14, the delegates will have the opportunity to approve the final draft, not approve it, approve it with amended changes, consider other versions, or postpone consideration for further review and discussion. The board and president will take direction from the delegates if further discussion or action is necessary.

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