I have a love-hate relationship with journalism. Sadly, I think I’ve accused media of all the vices under the sun. Yet throughout my adult life, the truth is I’ve reaped immeasurable benefit and fulfillment from the work of journalists. Recently, as part of our Public and Media Relations training workshops, I’ve reacquainted myself with their codes of conduct and ethics. Doing so has renewed me with energy and appreciation for their work.
Some elements from the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists include:
“Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.”
– taken from their principle, “SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT”.
“Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect.”
– taken from their principle, “MINIMIZE HARM”.
“The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.”
– taken from their principle, “ACT INDEPENDENTLY”.
Understandably, like in all professions and vocations, not all journalists keep up with their codes, standards or expectations. I’m sure we can all relate.
That is why, though tempted, we should never give up on the fight for open and sincere dialogue with media – or any other stakeholder group, for that matter. Deep inside us all, as well as intrinsic to most professions, there is a raw and persistent longing to do good, to serve public interest.
So whenever something goes sour for you or the faith in the press, which it inevitably will, let’s rally together as a community (faith-based or professional) to forge ahead, grow and learn and renew our energy to keep up the dialogue – one sincere conversation at a time.
Read more from Danny Torchia at Dialogue and Grace.