Struggling with a dilemma on deadline, or just want to talk about a tough call you've had to make?
Call 317/927.8000 x208
Simply make the call, leave a message, and a member of SPJ's Ethics Committee will soon be in touch.
Since we revised the code in 1996 we have fielded hundreds of questions and helped dozens of journalists make informed ethical decisions. We have a number of working/retired journalists and journalism educators on our ethics committee eager to lend their insight and expertise to anyone who makes a call to our hotline; that includes non-journalists who have questions about the ethics of journalism.
There are frequently no easy answers, but the thoughtful application of the Society's Code of Ethics can usually help shape a better outcome for journalists who are wrestling with thorny ethical issues. The group doesn't promise a quick fix to any problem, but committee members will listen carefully and coach Hotline callers using principles outlined in SPJ's Code of Ethics.
To reach the Hotline, dial 317/927-8000 ext. 208, or simply ask the receptionist for the Ethics Hotline. You can also send e-mail messages to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hotline and the e-mail are monitored by SPJ staff members, and requests are directed to appropriate committee members. Requests for confidentiality will be honored.
The Society of Professional Journalists works to ensure that journalists perform their work while adhering to the highest standards of behavior and decision-making. SPJ's first Code of Ethics was adopted in 1926. Over the years, that code has been revised and reworked. Today's code instructs journalists to seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable. SPJ's goal is not to provide all of the answers or settle all of the disputes but to help equip journalists to make clear defensible decisions.
In addition to the peer hotline, SPJ plans national and local ethics discussions, sponsors an awards program, and dedicates an issue of Quill magazine to a discussion of ethical issues and dilemmas.