Home > SPJ News > Newmark gives SPJ Foundation $185,000 for greater focus on journalism ethics

SPJ News
Latest SPJ News | RSS

Newmark gives SPJ Foundation $185,000 for greater focus on journalism ethics


Larry Messing, Director of Development, 317-920-4784, lmessing@spj.org
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists Foundation is receiving a gift of $185,000 from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to put a greater focus on journalism ethics.

The goal is to rebuild trust with the public through a powerful commitment to ethics.

“Journalism and truth have been under attack the past several years in ways we’ve never seen before, and I want to help repair that damage and hopefully prevent it from happening again,” Newmark said. “Rebuilding trust through a powerful commitment to ethics is one way to do that. SPJ is known around the world for its Code of Ethics, which puts it in an ideal position to tackle this work.”

Among other things, the program will expand SPJ’s longstanding Ethics Hotline, which provides journalists with instant access to experts on how to address ethical questions, and will support SPJ’s new Race and Gender Hotline, which provides support for journalists covering sensitive content regarding race and gender.

It also funds an ethics director position, which has been filled by Rod Hicks, who served as SPJ’s Journalist on Call for the past three years. In this role, Hicks will lead all efforts to increase awareness and understanding of the SPJ Code of Ethics and encourage its use in higher education and professional newsrooms.

“We are grateful to Mr. Newmark for his generosity and commitment to journalism,” Hicks said. “His gift is giving this project a jump-start so we can boost our continued important work of training journalists and advocating for — and helping the public identify — ethical journalism.”

Other goals of the position include:
• Serving as an industry adviser for ethics, including highlighting positive uses of the Code of Ethics and instances when it could have provided a better outcome;
• Addressing practices that can negatively impact accurate reporting, including false equivalency;
• Speaking out about threats to the ethical practice of journalism, including suppression of the free press and disinformation;
• Conducting educational programs and forums on ethics in journalism and
• Leading efforts to bridge the ethical practice of journalism with inclusive journalism, including efforts to help journalists covering stories impacting people and communities of color.

“We believe that the priorities of Craig Newmark Philanthropies are perfectly aligned with our strategic plan goal to be stewards of ethical journalism,” Hicks said. “Journalism can rebuild its trust with the public through a powerful commitment to ethics.”

SPJ’s strategic plan includes building public trust in media and greater accountability in the profession; promoting and advancing ethics through the Code of Ethics; and assisting journalists in boldly telling the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience.

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism & the information ecosystem, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans & military families. For more information, please visit: CraigNewmarkPhilanthropies.org.

The Society of Professional Journalists Foundation is a public foundation dedicated to ensuring that those who carry on the tradition of a free press are prepared for the challenge. The SPJ Foundation supports educational and professional needs of journalists and journalism students. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Give to the SPJ Foundation.


Join SPJ
Join SPJWhy join?