Code of Ethics

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  • A set of principles that define certain model behaviors and practices for members of an organization or institution. In journalism, a profession that enjoys sweeping constitutional protections, a code of ethics establishes a benchmark for self-evaluation and promotes responsibility and cooperative relationships. Journalism ethics have coevolved along with journalism since the debut of printed news in the early 17th century. It was not for another three centuries, however, that American newsmakers would adopt a national code. The first, in 1923, was developed by the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE). In 1926, the first professional journalist association, Sigma Delta Chi (later called the Society of Professional Journalists [SPJ]), borrowing from ASNE, wrote its first Code of Ethics. Both these codes stressed objectivity and truthfulness. The ...

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