Magazine article The Quill

Letters to the Editor

Magazine article The Quill

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

To the editor:

How very curious.

Page 34 of The Quill is devoted to an essay by Susan McKee - a confessional, I guess - in which she admits that as a travelwriting professional she accepts "press trips," meaning free travel.

Page 13 has the SPJ Code of Ethics, which lists "free travel" as something to be refused.

Holy conflict!

McKee writes, probably accurately, that when it comes to free travel, "editors don't ask and writers don't tell."

When this Code was being written, or updated, in the '80s, I objected to some of the language. If reporters are being told it is improper to accept freebies, I told local SPJ leadership at the time, publishers should be told it is their obligation to pay the freight.

SPJ's reaction: "Oh, we can't tell publishers what to do."

I think it's time to revisit the Code in light of today's unhappy realities. Why keep ideas that sound good on paper, but have no chance of being applied and serve only to make some of our members look unethical?

I know some are going to read this as a call for a Code of No Ethics, but I hope most readers will grasp the concept of dealing with reality, as most of us must do each day.

Stu Bykofsky

Philadelphia Daily News

To the editor:

Thanks to Jeff South and Quill for covering the dangers journalists face daily in the Ukraine and other "hot spots" around the globe. (May 2007 issue.) Thanks especially for the attention to the October 2006 death of award-winning Russian reporter and author Anna Politkovskaya, bringing much-needed attention to the particular threats to journalism and journalists in the Putin era. …

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