"Public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy," according to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics and the Preamble.
"Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough. An ethical journalist acts with integrity."
The Society of Professional Journalists has been advocating for the rights granted in the U.S. First Amendment to the Constitution, since 1909. These rights include freedom of the press and freedom of speech, which now more than ever are closely entwined.
The First Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Freedom of the Press is the right to publish and disseminate information, thoughts, and opinions without restraint or censorship as guaranteed under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The Society lists four principles as the foundation of ethical journalism, encouraging their use by all people involved in any and all types of media.
- Seek Truth and Report It
- Minimize Harm
- Act Independently
- Be Accountable and Transparent
Andrew Seaman presents some wonderful advice in two articles in Quill magazine, 10 Lessons in Journalism Ethics and Journalism's Complicated Relationship with Transparency. Seaman is the past chairman of the SPJ Ethics Committee.
Each year, at the SPJ National Convention, an individual, group of individuals, or organization receives a $10,000 award. The Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award is a program of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. More about Mr. Pulliam’s distinguished career can be found in The Indianapolis Star’s online library. The honoree(s) also will receive transportation and a two-night hotel stay to the national convention.
The Foundation has established an annual award to honor those committed to the same goals and as a tribute to Pulliam's professional contributions to journalism.
Grants for Journalists – on GrantWatch
Grants to USA and International nonprofits and institutes of higher education to support journalism education and media training programs. Funding is intended to promote college-level journalism studies and technological advances in the media industry. Preference is given to projects and programs that benefit the areas in which Gannett does business and that seek to encourage diversity in newsrooms and in coverage.
The Foundation's priorities are encouraging college students to enter the field of journalism and supporting innovative, national, and regional training for current journalists. Particular attention is given to the First Amendment and its responsibilities.
Grants to USA nonprofit organizations for media projects to raise awareness of important political, social, and environmental issues. Funding is intended to support a high-quality, non-commercial media that is substantive, fair, and accurate. Program priorities include investigative journalism, media policy, and public broadcasting.
Investigative Journalism supports excellence in reporting on nationally significant public affairs issues in the U.S. Competitive proposals will show evidence of groundbreaking content employing multi-platform media tools with the potential to achieve broad distribution and social impact.
Grants to USA nonprofit and for-profit organizations and institutions, as well as individual journalists, for health care journalism initiatives. Funding is intended to support documentary films and related public engagement campaigns, educational opportunities for reporters, and health reporting.
Fellowships of $77,500 to USA, Canada, and International scholars and practitioners to support creative new projects in the fields of arts, humanities, and social sciences. Fellows will be based in Greater Boston during their fellowship and will be required to regularly share their work in progress. Applications are welcome from a broad range of fields.
About the Author: The author is a staff writer for GrantWatch.