ethics

I gather my code of ethics and morals from the teachings of my parents, the United States Navy and my personal quest to always to be as accurate as humanly possible.


Seek Truth and Report It


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


I will take responsibility for the accuracy of of my work. I will verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.


I will remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.


I will provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in
promoting, previewing or summarizing a story.


I will gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.


I will be cautious when making promises, but keep the promises I make.


I will identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.


I will consider my sources’ motives before promising anonymity. I will preserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere. I will explain why anonymity was granted.


I will diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism or allegations of wrongdoing.


I will avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.


I will be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.


I will give voices to the voiceless.


I will support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.


I will recognize a special obligation to serve as a watchdog over public affairs and government. I will seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.


I will provide access to source material when it is relevant and appropriate.

I will boldly tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience.


Seek sources whose voices we seldom hear.


I will avoid stereotyping. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting.


I will label advocacy and commentary.
Never deliberately distort facts or context, including visual information.
Clearly label illustrations and re-enactments.


I will never plagiarize. I always attribute.


Minimize Harm


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


I will balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. In pursuit of the news I will not give license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.


I will show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. I will use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes,
and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or unable to give consent.


I will consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.


I will recognize that legal access to information differs from an ethical justification to publish or broadcast.


I will realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or
attention.


I will weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal
information.


I will avoid pandering to lurid curiosity, even if others do.


I will balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know. I will consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.


I will balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know. I will consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.


I will consider the long-term implications of the extended reach and permanence of
publication. Provide updated and more complete information as appropriate.


Act Independently


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


I will avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.


I will refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and avoid political and other outside activities that may compromise integrity or impartiality, or may damage credibility.


I will be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; do not pay for access to news. I will identify content provided by outside sources, whether paid or not.


I will deny favored treatment to advertisers, donors or any other special interests,and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.


I will distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines
between the two. I will prominently label sponsored content.


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


I will explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. I will encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.


I will respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.


I will acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. I will explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.


I will expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within my own organization.


I will abide by the same high standards my readers would want at all times.