A Journalist’s Guide to Ethics

(Banner Image courtesy to gamesnosh

Journalism (noun): the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television.

Ethics (noun): moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

Journalism Ethics (noun): Something all journalists need to know and learn. 

Now…i’m not going to beat around the bush here and ramble why journalists should follow a code of ethics but rather i’m going to discuss why journalists need to follow a code of ethics.

Ethics is extremely important for all journalists. It allows them to establish a trust between reader and writer, and uphold a worthy reputation within the industry.

An opinion piece written by Leslie Cannold pretty much sums up why journalists need to follow a code of ethics.

"Journalism relies on public trust, and trust between individual journalists and their sources. Without trust, the Media Alliance's Code of Ethics reminds us, journalists do not fulfill their public responsibilities"

There is an unspoken rule that a journalist’s duty is to tell the truth, and what the reader reads is the truth (and nothing but the truth!).

And might I add, the reader’s trust is why we have jobs in the first place.

Journo’s who don’t follow a code obviously can’t!

Our duty as journos is to deliver news in the most truthful and unbiased way. Without a code of ethics, it is pretty easy for a journo to stray from a path of right and wrong.

ABC Radio’s Manager,  Kellie Riordan came to QUT’s Online Journalism lecture this morning to discuss the importance of ethics.

Riordan brought up interesting points involving the online world.

Nowadays, news sites like Mamamia and the Guardian do sponsored posts which conclusively blurs the lines between journalism and native advertising.

Riordan said sponsored content and opinion pieces need to be signposted so readers know whether the content their reading is factual and not swayed by any outside influence.

(Hint: it’s money!)

@JennyArchdall liveblogs this mornings lecture, highling an important note on sponspored content

Overall, it is better for journalists to be transparent when it comes sponsored posts. A code of ethics allows journalists to keep in check.

Without a code of ethics and trust, journalists do not fulfil their public responsibilities.

There is no doubt ethics requires conscientious decision-making, but a journalist just has to think before they publish a post if it would make or break them career-wise.











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