Home»Quora»Are there written or unwritten rules that says that member of the press cannot cover the actions of other members of the press or news organisation?

I also weigh in on journalism questions filed on Quora.

Paul Bush
Paul Bush, Assistant Professor, Journalism and Digital Media, Franklin Pierce University.

Quite the contrary. The Society of Professional Journalists has a code of ethics that lists “Seek truth and report it” as its first principle.

Under its fourth principle, “Be accountable and transparent,” it speaks directly to your question: “Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.”

You would do well to look at other information available on SPJ.org, such as a December 2018 article, “How the New York Times maintains its credibility.” Its quite open about problems that the Times has had.

You might even want to look at a book SPJ publishes, Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media. It provides 50 cases of covering “the actions of other members of the press or news organization(s),” as you put it in your question.

If you don’t want to spend $20 for the book, you can simply look online. Organizations that practice journalism are sometimes guilty of egregious errors, but they do try to police themselves – and when they do, other journalists bring attention to the errors and what steps are being taken to fix them.

Read “Der Spiegel Made Up Stories. How Can It Regain Readers’ Trust?” Reporter Claas Relotius completely snowed his editors and fact checkers, who have to be ashamed for letting him fabricate stories so thoroughly. But it was a fellow reporter who exposed Relotius. (This article even provides a link to “CORRECTING THE RECORD; Times Reporter Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception,” which is the New York Times report on the infamous Jayson Blair, who fabricated, plagiarized and lied his way through a number of front page articles – very embarrassing, but also very well covered by other members of the press.)

So read up: you’ll see that journalists feel obligated to quite the opposite of what your question suggests.

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