Quick Links


Journalistic Ethics


Members of the Society of Professional Journalist believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principals and standards of practice.




Journalists should be honest, fair, and courageous in gathering, reporting, and interpreting information.
Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error.


Deliberate distortion is never permissible.


Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations
of any wrong doing.


Identify sources when feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on
a sources reliability.


Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional materials, photos, and quotations do not
misrepresent. They should not over simplify or highlight incidents out of context.




Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, or social status.


Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.


Give the voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.


Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent Ted fact or context.


Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.




Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. You should:
Show compassion to those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.


Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.


Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news
is not a license for arrogance?


Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about them than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.


Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.




Journalists should be free of obligations to any interests other than the public’s right to know.


You should:

  • Avoid conflict of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel, and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement and service in community organization if they compromise journalistic integrity.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Be vigilant and courageous about holding those in power accountable.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers, and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
  • Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money avoids bidding for the news.




Journalists are accountable to their readers and to each other.


You should:

  • Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
  • Encourage the public to voice grievance against the news media.
  • Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
  • Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
  • Abide by the same high standards to which you hold others.