The Football Writers Association of America takes very seriously the conduct of its members involved in the process of news gathering and how they interact with news sources which include, coaches, athletes, administrators and other athletic officials involved in allied fields.
To that end, the FWAA has an Ethics and Press Relations Committee which will review all cases brought before it by news sources in regards to complaints about the actions or conduct of FWAA members in the field.
The FWAA Ethics and Press Relations Committee can make recommendations for membership exclusion of those who do not abide by the standards below or take steps to remediate members who have violated the policy.
FWAA ETHICS POLICY
As adopted from portions of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics. The FWAA Ethics and Press Relations Committee believes FWAA members who are part of the news media should strive to do the following:
SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT
- Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
- Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrong-doing.
- Identify sources whenever feasible and always question sources’ motives before granting anonymity.
- Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of news gathering, except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.
- Never plagiarize.
- Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
- Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
- Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
- Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity with children or inexperienced sources or subjects.
- Be sensitive when seeking or using photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
- Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
- Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
- Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
- Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.
- Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
- Refuse large gifts, favors, free travel and special treatment from news sources and shun involvements that might compromise journalistic integrity.
- Be wary of sources offering information for favors of money; avoid bidding for the news.
- Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalist conduct.
- Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
- Abide by the high standards in which they hold others.