As a journalism student enrolled at New York University, you are part of a community of scholars at an institution recognized for its research. A scholar's mission is to push forward the boundaries of knowledge; a journalist's mission is to serve the public by seeking and reporting the facts as accurately as possible. Good journalists and scholars share a commitment to the same principle: integrity in their work. A doctor's ethos is, "do no harm." Ours is, "tell the truth."
The Journalism Faculty created this handbook to address issues that might arise during the course of a semester. The aim is for this handbook to be descriptive, prescriptive and pedagogical. In journalism, ethical problems -- with some obvious exceptions such as plagiarism and fabricating sources and material -- can rarely be solved with yes or no, do or don't answers. Whenever an ethical or legal issue arises, students should review this handbook, consult with a professor or both. The best defense against crossing ethical or legal lines is openness and honesty.
By its very nature this handbook cannot go into great depth on any one subject. The Department offers semester-long courses in ethics and communications law, in which these subjects are explored in detail.
Posted on August 30, 2007