— Phil Tenser (@pstenser) March 14, 2014
I taught a class today in professional codes of ethics for various media careers.
A central point of the class was to discuss whether and why ethics codes should be updated: How much do they present timeless principles and how much should they provide specific guidance relevant to today’s ethical situations and challenges?
I won’t review all the points I made here, but I cited these ethics codes (or principles):
- Public Relations Society of America Code of Ethics
- The Institute for Advertising Ethics’ Principles and Practices for Advertising Ethics
- The Accountable Journalism database of journalism ethics codes
- Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics
- Poynter Institute’s Guiding Principles for the Journalist
- Radio Television Digital News Association Code of Ethics
- The Online News Association’s Build Your Own Ethics Code project
I also cited these narrower but more detailed examinations of slices of journalism ethics, all of them completed in the past few years:
- Rules of the Road
- Verification Handbook
- Verification Handbook for Investigative Reporting
- Telling the Truth and Nothing But
We discussed native advertising, product placement as efforts to blur the lines between advertising and news or entertainment, including the Cities Energized paid post in the New York Times.
I made points covered in more detail in these earlier blog posts:
- Upholding and updating journalism ethics: My Colorado keynote
- ONA project provides helpful, detailed ethics advice
- Journalists’ code of ethics: time for an update?
- New SPJ Code of Ethics: an improvement but a disappointment
- New Guiding Principles for Journalists a big step forward (but they neglect linking)
- Journalists need to use links to show our work
- Other journalists correct a story the New York Times stubbornly refuses to correct
- Applause to the New York Times for effective use of an on-the-record source
- New York Times story based on unnamed sources: 2 big corrections
- New York Times frequently violates its attribution standards
- Fareed Zakaria’s plagiarism wasn’t ‘low-level;’ no one’s is
These were the slides I used in the class: