Journalists Strike Back

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Being a journalist is a tough job. Not only do you not get paid mass amounts of money, but you also have to deal with criticism all the time. People are always complaining about all the biased news coming from mainstream media. Though this does happen and some media outlets are unethical by choice and some by accident, what a lot of people don't know is that journalists have a code of ethics.

The Society of Professional Journalists, the nation's largest journalism organization, has a Code of Ethics that is nearly a century old. The code is not law, but people do voluntarily follow it. You cannot be sued by not following it, also.

In honor of Ethics Week, Florida Atlantic University's newspaper, University Press, decided to show everyone how bad a newspaper could be without using any ethical guidelines. The transformed Unethical Press violated numerous SPJ codes, but they didn't tell anyone where they were. They wanted them to find them.

They created this type of contest to see if readers could pick out the guidelines that were broken and if they could find them all, then they were to bring it up to the University Press room and they would win a $20 Starbucks gift certificate.

This whole deal kind of reminded me of what The Simpsonian did for April Fool's day by changing it to the Pimpsonian. It was funny to me how on Facebook, some people actually believed some of the stuff that was put in there (i.e. Charlie Sheen was coming to campus).

If you think BNR has taught you enough about journalism rules, try it out and click on the Unethical Press link and try to find the errors yourself.

Photo Credit: DRB62, CreativeCommons.


Ben Lucas April 20, 2011 at 8:07 AM  

I love this idea because some people really have no idea how many ethical guidelines it's expected for journalists to follow on a daily basis. It's not exactly easy to do it with deadlines looming either.

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