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SPJ Code of Ethics becomes interactive


June 22, 2015

Andrew Seaman, SPJ Ethics Committee Chair, 570-483-8555, andrew.m.seaman@andrewmseaman.com
Maggie LaMar, SPJ Communications Coordinator, 317-920-4785, mlamar@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS- For the first time, the Society of Professional Journalists has made its well-known Code of Ethics interactive online.

Since the Code’s most recent revision, which was approved at SPJ’s Excellence in Journalism convention in September 2014, Ethics Committee members have been working to add supporting documents to the online version to increase understanding of the Code and provide more background information.

When viewing the Code online, clickable arrow icons will allow readers to explore additional resources the Ethics Committee compiled to help people with day-to-day ethics decisions. A new window appears when an arrow is clicked.

The goal is that the addition of the supporting documents will increase understanding, and therefore adherence, to the Code of Ethics. Members of SPJ believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy.

“By the end of next week, each principle within the Society’s Code of Ethics will have supporting documents to aid people looking for guidance. The library of documents will never be complete. Instead, these lists will change as more resources are found, or as resources become obsolete. Also, it’s important to note that these documents are not part of the Society’s Code of Ethics,” said Andrew Seaman, SPJ Ethics Committee Chairman.

In addition to the supporting documents, the revised Code of Ethics is now available in six languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German and Spanish. Russian will be added soon.

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 more information on the addition of supporting documents to SPJ’s Code of Ethics, read Seaman’s blog.

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 about SPJ, please visit spj.org.


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