Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Living by the code

Here's the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics.

Journalism majors: Can you embrace this? Do you believe your chosen profession lives by it?

Non-journalists: What do you think? Do the mass media, in your experience, live by their own code?


Buffy said...

From a non-journalist:

One of the ethic codes that jumped out at me was under the Do No Harm category. Specifically it was "Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity."

I had the unfortunate experience last week of flipping past CNN and catching Nancy Grace (I already had serious questions regarding her journalism ethics) interviewing Masha Allen, the little girl who was adopted from Russia and molested by her adoptive father for years. She is only 13 or 14, STILL a little girl, and much too young in my opinion to be able to give consent to that interview.

Although it was supposedly an interview to highlight that Masha's adoptive father was receiving too nice of treatment in prison (something Grace loves to rant about), it seemed like only an accounting of the horrible things that happened to Masha for the entertainment of the viewers. I couldn't understand why these details were something all of the world needed to know, especially when this girl was still so very young.

It made my stomach turn when I realized that it was hard to turn the channel because I was the "luridly curious".

dairy diva said...

As a journalist I would say that following the code of ethics is needed.
When I read under the "Act Independently" section where one part says journalists should "shun...political involvement, public office...if they compromise journalistic integrity" it hit close to home.
Last summer I interned at a newspaper. One of my editors ran uncontested for mayor of a small city. I knew that was wrong because it would compromise their editing of stories coming from that city. When I read under the "Act Independently" section where a journalist should "shun...political involvement, public office...if they compromise journalistic integrity" I knew I had been correct.
Since then I have decided I can't work under that editor so I quit. I know that sometimes journalists don't have that option but I no longer respect that editor and can't work for them.

Kat said...

As a journalist (or a hopeful one at least), I believe that having this code of ethics is important. In a world where the media is trusted less and less, having these ethical guidelines might be the only thing keeping us afloat. It is one of the only things that ensures the likelihood that the things we are reading or hearing about it news reports are truthful and factual. If there were no rules and guidelines, I'd be scared of the things we might see.