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Journalistic integrity guides student media QT28


As scholastic media advisers and students develop policies and guidelines to guide them with journalism standards, they should note these words: The only thing students have to lose as journalists is their credibility.

HL Hall, former JEA president, would tell ASNE High School Institute advisers this over a 14-year span. He would pair it with ethics, thorough reporting and leadership guidelines.

Credibility, ethics and practices boil down to one word, integrity.

Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility, The Radio Television Digital News Association states. Other media groups agree.

Students and advisers should anchor their mission statements, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual procedures within a framework that starts with integrity.


Quick Tips: Journalistic integrity guides journalism students and their media

Question: Why should scholastic media should frame their brands and practices with journalistic integrity?

Key points/action Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility states the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). The Society of Professional Journalists says it a little differently, “An ethical journalist acts with integrity.”

Both organizations would say in having integrity is basic to good journalism no matter how it is delivered.

Stance: The RTDNA and the SPJ both include the concept of media and individual integrity in their ethics guidelines and media practices.

So should scholastic news media.


Some traits and practices essential to developing integrity are the following:

  • Create ethical guidelines and their practices to establish standards
  • Operate to maintain the public trust
  • Commit to accuracy in pursuit of journalistic activities
  • Verify before publishing information
  • Check source and information credibility
  • Seek the truth
  • Develop and practice superior methods of investigation, transparent to all involved
  • Maintain independent and respectful relationships with sources, businesses and citizens

Ensure mission statement, editorial policy, ethical guidelines and staff manual practices include integrity built upon these concepts. Being transparent when integrity is compromised is also important as it shows how well students apply its principles.


Public Media Code of Integrity

NPR Ethics statements

Why be transparent has replaced act independently as a guiding journalism principle

RTDNA Code of Ethics

Related: These points and other decisions about mission statement, forum status and editorial policy should be part of a Foundations Package that protects journalistically responsible student expression.


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