Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SPJ Code of Ethics

The Society of Professional Journalists has a useful code of ethics. Note especially the following: "Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story."

Even if those methods are explained as part of the story, are the methods still justified? I don't know. I would never feel comfortable myself using "surreptitious methods of gathering information" even if "traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public." I'm not convinced that is journalism's role.

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