Emergency Ethics

It’s midnight, deadline is at 9 a.m. Your article has carried you into a gray area of ethical ambiguity. The internet doesn’t have every answer and your editor won’t answer your calls. Now what? Since 1996 the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has hosted a 24 hour Ethics Hotline and with a new revised code, as of this month, they’re out to remind the world that their resource still exists.

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The hotline was established with the 1996 revision of the code of ethics to answer questions about the revisions but it’s remained open since then because it’s been a valuable resource for many journalists.

These revisions to the Ethics Code were the first made in nearly 18 years. A committee worked for a year, trying to make sure the code would encompass digitial media and ultimately they had to come to the decsion that a code would never be able to, specifically enough, cover every facet of journalism. Not anymore in a world that’s expanded so much.

With this realization, SPJ is encouraging more journalists to use the hotline because most ethical questions cannot be solved by simply adhering to an ethical code; it takes a conversation.

To reach the Ethics hotline simple call 317/927.8000 x208 and leave a message.


11 responses to “Emergency Ethics

  1. I had absolutely no idea that is existed! I think this is such a great idea and resource, especially for writers who are starting out and have millions of questions to be answered. This gives the writer animosity, so they don’t have to be embarrassed, and a resource to extensive knowledge about the ethics of the business. This is a great idea and should continue on so that new writers can get the opportunity of using this amazing resource.

  2. This is an awesome resource and I had no idea it was a thing! Thanks for the sweet tip, Allison!

  3. This is an amazing resource! I think this is an incredible thing to have, especially when someone is on a deadline. They will have exact answers for you, which is better than many other resources a writer could find on such short notice.

  4. That’s awesome! This past week I had to get in touch with the SPLC, and it took a day to get in contact with someone. If our deadline was sooner, we would have had a problem. This is an incredible resource!

  5. This sounds like a great resource. I’ll definitely have to bookmark it. I think this would prevent many journalists from making poor choices when on a time crunch.

  6. Wow, I have never heard of that, but that’s super helpful! It’s nice to have someone to talk to when you’re unsure of whether or not something is ethically correct. Am I just out of the loop, or do not a lot of people know about this?

  7. This is something that will definitely come in handy to me as a new writer! As only a sophomore in college, I have a million questions when it comes to my writing and my articles, so when my writer doesnt email or text me back asap then I freak out. Thank you for this amazing and useful tip!

  8. I had absolutely no idea that this existed! Thank you so much for sharing! That hotline will definitely come in handy. I think more journalists need to be aware of the resources out there, like this. It can help when there is a time crunch, and the writer can’t get ahold of the editor, or a situation like that.

  9. This is a great post and an excellent resource. I had no idea this existed. I’m interested in learning more about what kinds of questions the hotline answers. You also mentioned that there were several revisions made to the Code of Ethics. I would like to know what these are and whether or not the Code of Ethics is subject to future alterations as a result of the changes to the journalism field.

  10. This is awesome! I never knew this existed, but I think that the more people who become aware that this resource is out there and is free for journalists to take advantage of, maybe ethics in journalism will become easier to understand, making journalism more reliable and professional.

  11. I had absolutely no idea that this hotline existed. This is such a great resources for journalists to have. I’m surprised that this isn’t talked about more as it seems like a great second contact for journalists who can’t get in touch with their editor!

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