Ethics and Conduct

As part of what I'm calling phase two of this blog, which will roughly entail the next three years and the next one thousand posts, I've decided to adopt a set of journalistic and blogging ethics compiled from the following three sources:

Ethics in "Citizen Journalism"

SPJ Code of Ethics

Blogger's Code of Conduct

The following are those pieces from each of the sources above that I thought most relevant and important, but it should be realized that I am using these as a guide, not a set of absolute rules. I am human and though I will attempt to live up to the high standards presented, there will be inevitable times when i will fail, or appear to. By the same token, this list of guidelines should not be taken as exhaustive. There are of course standards of behavior and decency I hold myself to that this list might not include. I guess I should also add that in adopting these codes of ethics and conduct I am in no way assuming any extra legal responsibility.
Seek Truth and Report It- Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
Minimize Harm- Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.

Act Independently- Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public's right to know.

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

Accuracy - Check your facts before you publish. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.

Differentiate between facts and opinions.

Do not plaigarize and do link to all references. Identify sources whenever feasible.

Don't make digital modifications that change the meaning or context of pictures or video footage.

Don't submit "posed" pictures as true news.

Be honest.

Make personal contact with the person(s) you are writing about and link to their online material (eg blog) if they have any.

Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.

Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.

Transparency - Be sure to disclose any personal relationship you may have to the story you publish.

Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.

Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.

Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.

Take responsibility not just for your own words, but for the comments you allow on your blog.

Label your tolerance level for abusive comments.

Consider eliminating anonymous comments.

Don't feed the trolls.

Take the conversation offline, and talk directly, or find an intermediary who can do so.

If you know someone who is behaving badly, tell them so.

Don't say anything online that you wouldn't say in person.

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