Storm Mountain News - Code of Ethics
Storm Mountain News believes that public
enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of
democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends
by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account
of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media
and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and
honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a
journalist's credibility. We share a dedication to ethical
behavior and do hereby adopt this code to declare our principles
and standards of practice.
Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in
gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
- Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise
care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never
- Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the
opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
- Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as
much information as possible on sources' reliability.
- Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity.
Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for
information. Keep promises.
- Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material,
photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not
misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents
out of context.
- Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image
enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label
montages and photo illustrations.
- Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If
re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
- Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering
information except when traditional open methods will not yield
information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be
explained as part of the story
- Never plagiarize.
- Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human
experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
- Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values
- Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity,
geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or
- Support the open exchange of views, even views they find
- Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of
information can be equally valid.
- Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and
commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
- Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the
lines between the two.
- Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public's
business is conducted in the open and that government records are
open to inspection.
Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and
colleagues as human beings deserving of respect.
- Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news
coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and
inexperienced sources or subjects.
- Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of
those affected by tragedy or grief.
- Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm
or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
- Recognize that private people have a greater right to control
information about themselves than do public officials and others who
seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need
can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
- Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
- Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex
- Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal
filing of charges.
- Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the
public’s right to be informed.
Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest
other than the public's right to know.
- Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
- Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise
integrity or damage credibility.
- Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and
shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and
service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic
- Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
- Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power
- Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and
resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
- Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid
bidding for news.
Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners,
viewers and each other.
- Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the
public over journalistic conduct.
- Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
- Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
- Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
- Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.
Adopted January 1st, 2006
This Code of Ethics is voluntarily
embraced by thousands of
writers, editors and other news professionals. The present version of
the code was adopted by the 1996 Society of Professional Journalists
National Convention, after months of study and debate among the