A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists


#Ethics


August 8th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Blog, Quill Archives, Ethics Toolbox
Quill question: When does sponsored content require disclosure?

An SPJ member asked: “A local entertainment publication provides a weekly print edition with information on weekly entertainment happenings in the area. They also feature various articles on people and events. Sometimes the cover is sold for the featured event. Does this require a disclosure?


January 24th, 2019 • Featured, Quill Blog
Bad week for journalism can have long-term impact

Journalism is wrapping up a bad week — a week of mischaracterizations in news reports that further tainted the credibility of the industry.


January 21st, 2019 • Quill Blog, Quill Archives
Is news without names the new normal?

Anonymous sources — one of journalism’s most powerful tools — are also one of its most dangerous.      Almost every journalist has received a request for anonymity. A source calls up promising a big scoop or an untold story with one condition: that his or her name not be used in the story.  


December 15th, 2018 • Featured, Quill Blog, Diversity, Journalist on Call
How the New York Times maintains its credibility

For 167 years, The New York Times has rigorously investigated important national and world issues and written about them with sophistication for a curious and cultured audience. There have been some serious breaches along the way, including the revelation in 2003 that one of its reporters had been fabricating details of stories and copying the work of journalists at other newspapers.


September 30th, 2018 • Quill Blog, Ethics Toolbox
10 lessons in journalism ethics

My tenure as the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics committee chairperson began in September 2014. A Minneapolis news station would broadcast a story now known as #Pointergate in early November. Rolling Stone would publish its now-infamous story on sexual assault a couple of weeks later. 


August 17th, 2018 • Featured, Journalist on Call
Why the #FreePress editorials were not enough

Thursday was a proud day for journalists. Hundreds of newspapers and other media organizations explained the important role they play in their communities or the country and asserted they are not “enemies of the people” as the president has frequently said.


May 31st, 2018 • Featured, Quill Archives
Do journalists deserve some blame for America’s mass shootings?

The reporter who won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for feature writing initially thought she was in Charleston, South Carolina, to chronicle the lives of nine church-goers who died in 2015 when a stranger with a Glock murdered them while they were praying.


May 7th, 2018 • Quill Blog
Parkland students embrace advocacy journalism

Eight days after the Feb. 14 school shooting, Rebecca Schneid and her high school newspaper’s staff sat down to figure out a plan. Schneid is one of the editors-in-chief of the Eagle Eye, the student newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.


April 24th, 2018 • Featured
Journalism’s complicated relationship with transparency

Despite first being added to the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics in 2014, “transparency” has always been an elemental part of journalism. As SPJ embarks on its 15th annual Ethics Week and the organization calls for more transparency throughout journalism, it’s important to look back at the complicated relationship between the concept and the profession.


April 9th, 2018 • Featured
Sinclair’s ‘teachable moment’ raises even more questions

Sinclair Broadcast Group executives reportedly called the recent backlash to its company-wide promotional videos “teachable moment” in a call Wednesday with representatives from the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. That same day, the National Press Photographers Association issued a statement calling on all media companies to “improve and celebrate ethical journalism in effective, meaningful and respectful ways.” By “teachable moment,” perhaps the Sinclair executives – who include past NPPA honorees – meant they’d be teaching those who criticized their company a lesson.


April 3rd, 2018 • Featured
Sinclair’s mandates threaten independent, local journalism

Journalists at Sinclair Broadcast Group stations across the country have been appearing in carbon-copy promotional videos claiming that some media outlets are publishing “fake stories” and that some members of the media “push their own personal bias and agenda.” How America’s largest local TV owner turned its news anchors into soldiers in Trump’s war on the media: https://t.co/iLVtKRQycL pic.twitter.com/dMdSGellH3 — Deadspin (@Deadspin) March 31, 2018 As others point out, the videos are troubling since they borrow wording from some of the attacks President Donald Trump lobs at journalists and news organizations.


March 19th, 2018 • From the President
To regain trust, journalists should tell our own story

How can the media rebuild public trust? That’s a question journalists have grappled with for decades. But now it’s more important than ever to examine the causes of and possible solutions to this vexing problem. The good news is that most people value accurate, well-told news stories.