Code of Ethics

Gephardt Daily abides by the Code of Ethics established by the Society of Professional Journalists. (https://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp)

These guiding principles represent the highest values of the Fourth Estate and are the bedrock of legitimate journalistic enterprises.

Seek Truth and Report It

  • Journalists working at every level must take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before it is released. Use original sources whenever possible.
  • Remember that neither speed nor format excuse inaccuracy.
  • Provide context. Take special care not to misrepresent or oversimplify in promoting, reviewing or summarizing a story.
  • Gather, update and correct information throughout the life of a news story.
  • Identify sources clearly.
  • Reserve anonymity for sources who may face danger, retribution or other harm, and have information that cannot be obtained elsewhere.
  • Be vigil and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
  • Give voice to the voiceless.
  • Label advocacy and commentary.
  • Never plagiarize. Always attribute.

Minimize Harm

  • Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.
  • Show compassion for those who may be affected by news coverage. Use heightened sensitivity when dealing with juveniles, victims of sex crimes and sources or subjects who are inexperienced or able to give consent. Consider cultural differences in approach and treatment.
  • Balance a suspect’s right to a fair trial with the public’s right to know. Consider the implications of identifying criminal suspects before they face legal charges.

Act Independently

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Deny favored treatment of advertisers, donors, or any other special interests, and resist internal and external pressure to influence coverage.
  • Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two. Prominently label sponsored content.

Be Accountable and Transparent

  • Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.
  • Respond quickly to questions about accuracy, clarity and fairness.
  • Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections carefully and clearly.
  • Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within in their own organizations.