This is part three of a four part series on media ethics. We have reviewed in prior posts a few of the voluntary ethical standards of the Society of Professional Journalists, including: 1) Seek truth and report it; and 2) Minimize harm. The third tenet of good reporting is to Act Independently. According to the SPJ:
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.
—Avoid conflicts 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, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity
— Disclose unavoidable conflicts
— Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with 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; avoid bidding for news
Kim's Editorial Note: Looks like reporters have to be as careful as politicians!
Do you think they do a good job?
Source: Society of Professional Journalists, Code of Ethics: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp (accessed 9/18/08)(emphasis supplied)
Photo credit: U.S. Department of the Treasury, http://www.ustreas.gov/topics/currency/ (accessed 9/18/08)