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Home > Ethics > SPJ Code of Ethics

SPJ Code of Ethics

Revised September 6, 2014 at 4:49 p.m. CT at SPJ’s National Convention in Nashville, Tenn.


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Preamble

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity.

The Society declares these four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism and encourages their use in its practice by all people in all media.


Seek Truth and
Report It


Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:


Minimize Harm

Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:


Act Independently

The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.

Journalists should:


Be Accountable and Transparent

Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.

Journalists should:

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Media Ethics: 5th Edition Closely organized around SPJ's Code of Ethics, this updated edition uses real-life case studies to demonstrate how students and professionals in journalism and other communication disciplines identify and reason through ethical dilemmas.

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The SPJ Code of Ethics is a statement of abiding principles supported by explanations and position papers that address changing journalistic practices. It is not a set of rules, rather a guide that encourages all who engage in journalism to take responsibility for the information they provide, regardless of medium. The code should be read as a whole; individual principles should not be taken out of context. It is not, nor can it be under the First Amendment, legally enforceable.

For an expanded explanation, please follow this link.


Supporting documents

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Additional Applications


SPJ Ethics Committee Publications


Additional Resources


Get involved


History


The SPJ Code of Ethics is a statement of abiding principles supported by additional explanations and position papers that address changing journalistic practices. It is not a set of rules, rather a guide that encourages all who engage in journalism to take responsibility for the information they provide, regardless of medium. The code should be read as a whole; individual principles should not be taken out of context. It is not, nor can it be under the First Amendment, legally enforceable.

Sigma Delta Chi's first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926. In 1973, Sigma Delta Chi wrote its own code, which was revised in 1984, 1987, 1996 and 2014.

Abide by the same high standards they expect of others. annotate icon