Thursday, July 23, 2015

SPJ makes its online Code of Ethics interactive

The Society of Professional Journalists has made its Code of Ethics interactive online, allowing users to sift through supporting documents and other background information that help explain why the code says what it says and help journalists make ethical decisions.

Since the code’s most recent revision, at the Excellence in Journalism conference in September 2014, Ethics Committee members have been working on the interactive project. Now clickable arrow icons allow readers to explore the additional resources.

“The library of documents will never be complete,” said Andrew Seaman, SPJ Ethics Committee chair. “Instead, these lists will change as more resources are found, or as resources become obsolete. Also, it’s important to note that these documents are not part of the society’s Code of Ethics.”

In addition to the supporting documents, the Code of Ethics is now available in six languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German and Spanish. Russian will be added soon. For more information, read Seaman’s blog at

"The SPJ Code of Ethics is a statement of abiding principles supported by explanations and position papers that address changing journalistic practices," an SPJ news release said. "It is not a set of rules, rather a guide that encourages all who engage in journalism to take responsibility for the information they provide, regardless of medium. The code should be read as a whole; individual principles should not be taken out of context. It is not, nor can it be under the First Amendment, legally enforceable."

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