PR Pros to Gain Valuable Insights During SPJ Ethics Week, April 15-19

The PR industry can learn a lot from journalism's own ethics code as well as challenges faced in today's newsrooms.

The week ahead is SPJ Ethics Week (#SPJEthicsWeek), April 15-19, 2024, as sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists.

As a past university journalism major myself, I appreciate the journalism profession’s commitment to continuous analysis of ethical practices that best serve society and democracy.

Be sure to check out Uri Berliner‘s editorial in The Free Press, “I’ve Been at NPR for 25 Years. Here’s How We Lost America’s Trust.”

It’s a barn-burner, since Mr. Berliner himself professes to hold left-of-center political views and related background… yet he didn’t mince words about his stated dissatisfaction with NPR’s often-underlying editorial political skews, regarding the harm done to public trust when journalism ventures too far into political ideology or dogma.

Then, just this morning, I read The Wall Street Journal’s exposé of The New York Times’ internal employee relations issues and cultural rifts, related to — yet again — editorial decision-making.

It, too, is fascinating.

I particularly felt riveted to this issue of how some news media executives believe that journalists working for them should never be whistleblowers, yet those same executives are often delighted when those same journalists unearth whistleblowers within businesses or government agencies that the news media intensely scrutinize in their coverage.

But then again, we’re all guilty of that infraction, to some extent in our lives!

The public relations profession would be wise to remain closely connected with understanding ethical tenets of journalism. We in PR should understand and respect those tenets, as we work with news media on clients’ and employers’ behalf.

Stay tuned for SPJ’s programs – including free webinars and YouTube postings – for Ethics Week, and please consider sharing these insights and considerations with your PR staff teams.


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