An Introduction to Journalistic Ethics

By Romy C. Ackerberg

To introduce this website, I need to start with the foundation of journalistic ethics, a code that is founded on four pillars:

  1. Seek Truth and Report It
  2. Minimize Harm
  3. Act Independently
  4. Be Accountable

The Society of Professional Journalists has been relying on a code of ethics since 1926, and finalized the current version in 1996. Between the 1920’s and 1990’s, some of the biggest ethical issues faced by journalists were undercover reporting, and protecting sources. In this age of New Media, nearly anyone has the potential to be a journalist, due to the immense spread of media outlets and platforms at our fingertips. As the definition of “journalist” continues to broaden, so do the responsibilities that come with it, and the limits of journalistic writing seem to span for miles compared to the work done in the original newsrooms.

This blog is dedicated to discussing just what it means to be a journalist in today’s world of New Media. From tabloids and paparazzi, to New York Times columnists in their 3rd decade of newsroom work, to professional teenage travel bloggers, where does the role of the Journalist rear its head, or remain an essential part of democratic life? Are the codes of ethics still used, or needed?

For more information about the Journalistic Code of Ethics, please click on the picture below.

SPJ Ethics Code

PDF courtesy of the Society of Professional Journalists.