Society Offers Guidelines to Counter Ethnic, Religious Profiling
INDIANAPOLIS - The Diversity Committee of the Society of Professional Journalists issued a set of guidelines Oct. 12 to help journalists counter religious and ethnic profiling in coverage of the U.S. war on terrorism.
"Journalists need to cover all aspects of a complicated and emotional situation in a fair and accurate way," said Sally Lehrman, a medical technology writer and chair of the committee. "The repetition of certain images and wording can unintentionally lead to racial profiling and the hate crimes that come with it.'
The guidelines elaborate on two resolutions adopted Oct. 6 by the delegates to the SPI National Convention that urge journalists to strive for ethical and informative coverage of all the communities throughout the United States and the world. (See Resolution No. 2 and Resolution No. 3 on Page 6 of SPJ Report.)
"The resolutions and the guidelines reflect the first principle of the SPJ Code of Ethics, `Seek truth and report it,"' said SPJ President Al Cross, political writer and columnist for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal. "Some of the pertinent points covered by that principle say that we should not stereotype, misrepresent, oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context, and that we should give voice to the voiceless, avoid imposing our own cultural values on others, and tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so. …