Ethics is the first step
in spotting fake news

It's much easier to see through false or incomplete information when you understand how journalists themselves judge ethical reporting. The Society of Professional Journalists "promotes the highest professional standards for journalists of all disciplines" through its Code of Ethics. If an article does not follow these principles, that's a red flag for biased, misleading, incomplete or even "fake" news.

All information on this web page is taken from www.spj.org, unless otherwise indicated.

The SPJ Code of Ethics is a statement of abiding principles supported by explanations and  position papers  that address changing journalistic practices. It is not a set of rules, rather a guide that encourages all who engage in journalism to take responsibility for the information they provide, regardless of medium. The code should be read as a whole; individual principles should not be taken out of context. It is not, nor can it be under the First Amendment, legally enforceable. - (From spj.org.)

The SPJ Code of Ethics is a statement of abiding principles supported by explanations and position papers that address changing journalistic practices. It is not a set of rules, rather a guide that encourages all who engage in journalism to take responsibility for the information they provide, regardless of medium. The code should be read as a whole; individual principles should not be taken out of context. It is not, nor can it be under the First Amendment, legally enforceable. - (From spj.org.)

Some  guidelines  suggest accuracy  checklists.   When a story lacks context, it could be that oversimplification has cause the omission of key facts, such as when a headline ends up not matching the story. "Inflating events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping or being disproportionately negative all make a less reliable map,"  says Poynter.   The Reuters Handbook of Journalism urges  naming sources  for all facts.

Some guidelines suggest accuracy checklists.

When a story lacks context, it could be that oversimplification has cause the omission of key facts, such as when a headline ends up not matching the story. "Inflating events for sensation, neglecting others, stereotyping or being disproportionately negative all make a less reliable map," says Poynter.

The Reuters Handbook of Journalism urges naming sources for all facts.


"Reporters must be aggressive yet compassionate, intense yet reflective, skeptical yet open-minded," writes  Bob Steele for Poynter.     Five ways  journalists can engage with their audience online and face-to-face, also on Poynter.  SPJ's  comprehensive guide  to accessing government records.  Professor  Steve Buttry  on why providing links to sources is "honest, transparent, attribution and provides context."

"Reporters must be aggressive yet compassionate, intense yet reflective, skeptical yet open-minded," writes Bob Steele for Poynter. 

Five ways journalists can engage with their audience online and face-to-face, also on Poynter.

SPJ's comprehensive guide to accessing government records.

Professor Steve Buttry on why providing links to sources is "honest, transparent, attribution and provides context."

SPJ is the oldest professional journalism organization in the country,  founded in 1909  as Sigma Delta Chi at DePauw University by ten journalism students, mostly staff writers at the college paper the DePauw Daily. Ten other universities started chapters in 1910. The society grew rapidly, and by 1988, the name was officially changed to SPJ.

SPJ is the oldest professional journalism organization in the country, founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi at DePauw University by ten journalism students, mostly staff writers at the college paper the DePauw Daily. Ten other universities started chapters in 1910. The society grew rapidly, and by 1988, the name was officially changed to SPJ.

Sigma Delta Chi's first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926. In 1973, Sigma Delta Chi wrote its own code, which was revised in 1984, 1987, 1996 and 2014. (From spj.org.)

Sigma Delta Chi's first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926. In 1973, Sigma Delta Chi wrote its own code, which was revised in 1984, 1987, 1996 and 2014. (From spj.org.)

National Public Radio's Ethics Handbook provides  guidelines  on anonymous sources.  NYU School of Journalism:  Info in a story  should generally not be a surprise to the subjects.  Case studies of undercover reporting:  Harper's   Dateline   ABC News  (Food Lion)

National Public Radio's Ethics Handbook provides guidelines on anonymous sources.

NYU School of Journalism: Info in a story should generally not be a surprise to the subjects.

Case studies of undercover reporting:
Harper's
Dateline
ABC News (Food Lion)


The Journalist Toolbox offers resources on finding a wide range of experts from all backgrounds and cultures.

The Journalist Toolbox offers resources on finding a wide range of experts from all backgrounds and cultures.