Ethics Codes Revisted

My OJR colleague JD Lasica writes that the SPJ Code of Ethics "isn’t really applicable to bloggers or citizens media." This comes up as he heads the standards committee of the Media Bloggers Association. JD, forget the small print — although, based on years of walking through ethics questions with professional journalists, students and members of the general public, a lot of the bullet points are more applicable than you might think. Heck, skip the preamble, too.

Focus, instead, on the core principles:

  • Seek Truth and Report It
  • Minimize Harm
  • Act Independently
  • Be Accountable

Not applicable to bloggers or p2p journalists? (The term "citizen journalism" suggests that professional journalists are not citizens.) I’m not saying they apply to all bloggers because I’m not sure there’s a code or set of principles that could but they can be cornerstones for those who choose the responsibility of publishing news and information beyond their own daily activities.

I’m not suggesting that the MBA adopt SPJ’s code as its own or that the 1996 revision that took so many of us so much time to achieve is the be all and end all when it comes to codes of ethics. But it was designed to offer core principles and I hope the MBA, which includes a lot of people I respect, will take that into consideration as it forges ahead.

JD says he’ll be writing more about this soon. I’m looking forward to it.

Related: Too Many Codes? | Changing Linguistic Gears 

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