Journalists Code of Ethics
Students evaluate three recent news stories for adherence to the standards expected of journalists in their daily work.
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- Current Events
- Individually, or as a class, read the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
- Have each student pick three recent stories with photographs from newspapers, magazines or online news sites. (If the assignment is done outside of class, students could include television news.)
- Read and analyze each story for whether it complies with ethical standards in the SPJ Code of Ethics.
- Write a paragraph about each story explaining how it shows standards being implemented or shows a lack of standards. Be specific. Make sure to attach the news stories or story sources to the evaluations.
- Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics (download), one per student
- Newspapers, magazines or online access to news websites
Have students share their findings and look for similarities. Then ask:
- Did most stories and photographs follow the code of ethics?
- Was it difficult to find examples that violated the standards?
- Which standards, if any, were violated most often? Why do you think that is?
- Why is it important for journalists to maintain standards?
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.
National Council of Teachers of English: NCTE.12Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).