Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Ethical Principals

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Ethical Principals

Article excerpt

THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE of the Associated Presss Managing Editors has wisely backed off from the hazardous reef it was sailing into with an overly detailed code of ethics and is now proposing a much shorter and simpler Statement of Ethical Principles to the membership.

A survey of APME members revealed that only 39% supported the draft proposal that was submitted to the annual meeting last fall. Many editors criticized it as being too specific and too long, and some cited potential legal liability, as we at E&P did at the time. However, nearly two-thirds of members agreed that the old code, written in 1975, should be revised. The drafting committee did just that, improved it, and still kept it brief.

The code proposed last year was not only subjected to a detailed survey of members but was discussed at 20 "town meetings" across the country at which the longer draft on the "most inclusive discussion of ethics and professional standards ever held. With journalists at all levels, academics, news sources and readers all participating, issues of this type were aired in a spirit of opennes and and candor."

The new code is a good one. It is not too different from the 1975 version but addresses a number of new issues, in a general way, including technology, plagiarism, involvement and diversity. APME members will be asked to approve it at their convention in Philadelphia, Oct. 12-15. The 1975 code was approved only by the board of directors. Nevertheless, this Statement of Ethical Principles, like the 1975 Code of Ethics, is presented only as a guideline and a model, which newspapers can adapt for their own purposes. …

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