The student journalists on the staff of The College VOICE, are just that, students learning the craft of journalism, how to conduct effective interviews, find facts and corroborate them, uncover stories that are newsworthy and meaningful to our readership and do so in a way that adheres to the standards of professional journalists.
To this end, The VOICE makes every effort to follow the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). A copy of the code is placed prominently in the VOICE newsroom and the standards and expectations are listed in our policy manual which is available in print form and online. VOICE advisers work to help us think through ethical dilemmas and how they should be handled.
To some extent, as was pointed out by the current president of the SPJ, Lynn Walsh, in a panel entitled “Facts, Alternative Facts, and Journalism in the Age of Drumpf,” at the College Media Association conference that 9 VOICE staffers attended this past March, there are inherent conflicts within the code itself. A journalist’s first obligation is to the truth, for example, but a journalist should also do no harm. Sometimes telling the truth may cause it’s own form of harm to some one. Nevertheless, ethical journalists strive toward a common goal and aim always to balance ethical obligations in the manner that best fulfills the task of the fourth estate to protect the public and be the watchdogs of institutions.
The VOICE has been repeatedly acknowledged for its work by the SPJ through the annual Mark of Excellence awards, seen by many as the “Pulitzer Prize of college journalism” and have been again this year for photography by graduating VOICE staffer, Savannah Diezpak. Further, current VOICE advisers have set a goal to establish a student chapter of the SPJ on our campus within the next two years, something only a handful of other top community college papers in the nation have done. The goal of having such a chapter would be to increase student reporters to exposure to the world of professional journalism by connecting them with active reporters and other resources through the SPJ. Such a chapter would also, of course, reinforce The VOICE’s commitment to ethical journalistic practices.
In the meantime, The VOICE offers this statement in support for the SPJ’s Ethics Week. We strive toward the SPJ’s goals of truth, compassion, independence and transparency. #pressforethics