Journalism 101

Journalism in 2013, have our obligation to society changed?      

By:  Catherine Costello

Does journalism have a code of ethics?  Do we need to be mindful of the people we serve as a journalist?

Journalism reliability is compromise by the actions of few.  Today journalism is not about writing the truth, trough an objective eye. Journalism is more about giving the public by any means necessary a story.  Regardless of the pressure which will be directed at a particular group of people, an individual, a business or a country.

What is the function of journalism in society?  As technology moves forward we can catch a glimpse of the constant transformation in the media as a whole. The newspaper, magazine, news broadcasting is becoming a thing of the past. The internet has taken public media hostage, everything is printable, everything is news, and we seem to forget that our statements will follow us.  We are allowing all forms of news to reach the viewers, listeners and readers yet with no confirmation on its veracity. Journalists are responsible to convey the truth, and yet we have to watch how technology alters the truth. Technology has made journalism an inconsistent and unreliable source in the 21st century.  “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 principles and standards of practice.” (Copyright@1996-2013Society of Professional Journalists)  These words give us an idea of the code of ethics a journalist should follow.  Can we honestly say we observe these qualities or individual characteristics in a journalist should observe?  The Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics is one of the most accredited societies and there code of ethics is “embraced by thousands of journalist regardless of place or platforms” (

Here I give my readers the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics:  (

Seek Truth and Report It
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

Minimize Harm
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

Journalists should:

— Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
Act Independently
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know.

Journalists should:

—Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
— remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.

Be Accountable
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.

Journalists should:

— Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
I posted one from each category in order for the reader to catch a glimpse of the conduct a journalist should maintain and observe.  Can such conduct be observed in journalism?

For more information visit the web site The Society of Professional Journalist.


Published by

Boricua Muslimah

Graduate from Rutgers Newark. Journalist, photographer and videographer.

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