Twitter Facebook Google Plus Pinterest Storify
Society of Professional Journalists
Improving and protecting journalism since 1909

Advertise with SPJ

News and More
Click to Expand Instantly

SPJ News
Events and Deadlines
SPJ Blogs
Quill Online
Journalist's Toolbox

Stay in Touch
Twitter Storify Facebook Google Plus
RSS Pinterest Pinterest Flickr

More SPJ News
Press Notes
SPJ Blogs
SPJ Leads
The EIJ News
Press Notes
SPJ News
Open Doors
Geneva Conventions
Annual FOI Reports

Home > SPJ News > SPJ recognizes strong ethical practices on New Orleans news website

SPJ News
Latest SPJ News | RSS

SPJ recognizes strong ethical practices on New Orleans news website



For immediate release

Lauren Rochester, SPJ awards coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 210,
Christine DiGangi, SPJ communications coordinator. (317) 927-8000 ext. 205,

INDIANAPOLIS — Karen Gadbois, a staff writer for The Lens, has received the Ethics in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for noting the New Orleans Police Department’s inconsistency in implementing an unpopular policy. The Lens is an online, investigative-news publication that covers New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

New Orleans Police Chief Ronal Serpas started the practice of releasing a homicide victim’s criminal records, and local groups voiced their objection, according to Jessica Williams, a Lens employee who nominated Gadbois. When Harry “Mike” Ainsworth was killed while trying to prevent a carjacking, the police did not immediately release his record. The police called Ainsworth, a 44-year-old father of two, a Good Samaritan and omitted his previous arrests for marijuana possession and LSD distribution.

Though The Lens was criticized for publishing Ainsworth’s criminal history, other news outlets credited The Lens with noting the discrepancy, as well as pointed out that Ainsworth was a white man, while most homicide victims in the area were African-American. The outlet felt it was necessary to point out the police department’s double standard, Williams said, and Serpas reversed the policy weeks later.

The SPJ Ethics Committee recommended Gadbois because her work “offered a powerful and unique perspective in upholding the highest ethical standards.” When the committee contacted Williams, she said that other journalists on staff and in the city have been inspired by Gadbois’ work.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information on SPJ, please visit


Copyright © 1996-2015 Society of Professional Journalists. All Rights Reserved. Legal

Society of Professional Journalists
Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Center
3909 N. Meridian St.
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317/927-8000 | Fax: 317/920-4789

Contact SPJ Headquarters
Employment Opportunities
Advertise with SPJ