The University of Tennessee Office of Student Media has adopted the Code of Ethics of the American Society of Newspaper Editors as its guide to professional journalism. Although the following statements pertain primarily to newspaper journalism, all student media will adhere to the principles stated in this Code of Ethics.
The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by nothing but consideration of public welfare. The use a newspaper makes of the share of public attention it gains serves to determine its sense of responsibility, which it shares with every members of its staff. A journalist who uses his or her power for any selfish or otherwise unworthy purposes is faithless to a high trust.
Freedom of the press is to be guarded as a vital right of mankind. It is an unquestionable right to discuss whatever is not explicitly forbidden by law, including the wisdom of any restrictive statute.
Freedom from all obligations except that of fidelity to the public interest is vital.
Good faith with the reader is the foundation of all journalism worthy of the name.
Sound practice makes clear distinction between news reports and expressions of opinion. News reports should be free from opinion or bias of any kind. This rule does not apply to so-called special articles unmistakably devoted to advocacy or characterized by a signature authorizing the writer's own conclusions and interpretation.
A newspaper should not publish unofficial charges affecting reputation or moral character without opportunity given to the accused to be heard: right practice demands the giving of such opportunity in all cases of serious accusation outside judicial proceedings.
A newspaper cannot escape conviction of insincerity if, while professing high moral purpose, it supplies incentives to base conduct, such as are to be found in details of crime and vice, publication of which is not demonstrably for the general good. Lacking the authority to enforce its canons the journalism here represented can but express the hope that deliberate pandering to vicious instincts will encounter effective public disapproval or yield to the influence of a preponderant professional condemnation.
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