If you find the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics a dry read — or simply prefer to have your ethics served in rhyming couplets, a group of students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism have just what you’re looking for.
Not to be dismissed as a creative yet empty endeavor, these students cover all the bases, from pledging to “report with honesty” to shunning false parity, bribes, and kickbacks.
They also shed light on the changing nature of journalism ethics (and journalism school syllabi) mentioning a willingness to “embrace adaptability” and “utilize technology.”
It’s good to know that these issues are being addressed but, as the students rightly point out, ethics become much more complicated once you leave the protective halls of J-school.
Here’s the full text of “J-school State of Mind”:
I’ll report with honesty / never print a fallacy / Explain it all with clarity / Active voice my policy /
I won’t quote out of context / Won’t attribute sloppily / Give credit to my sources / And do my research properly /
Won’t Jayson Blair my articles / Won’t Stephen Glass the story / My writing will have currency / Free from all dishonesty/And when I’m wrong, I’ll retract / Quickly and sincerely / But if I’m right I will attack / Never fail to hit back /
I’ll rail against complacency / Embrace adaptability / Don’t be scared of changing / And utilize technology /
If I witness tragedy / Record it for posterity / But I will never lost touch / With my own humanity /
Get every side to speak / But there’s no need to hear crazy / Or create false sense of parity / Like Fox News and Hannity /Tell me I’m a dreamer / Tell me that I’m green / Tell by my attitude that I definitely from… / J-school! /
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There’s nothing you can’t do / But now no more J-school / The real world’s never that easy / But I’ll never get sleazy / Let’s hear it for.. / J-school! /
I’ll only serve one master / No matter what the cost / Answer to the people / They’re my only boss /
I’ll keep my independence / Utilize my common sense / Turn down bribes and kickbacks / Won’t take a single cent /
Cause I am not a prostitute / Lying on my back / Waiting for your Benjamins / I don’t need none of that /
And confidential sources / I’ll never pay with greenback / Pay them instead with respect / And my oath to protect /
Half the time I won’t agree / With all the crap I hear and see / Sources are human beings / Don’t take away their dignity/ I pledge to work expediently / My deadlines won’t be hazy / Who the hell will hire me if I am slow and lazy /
But I’ll fact check for accuracy / Don’t assume nothing, G / Cause if you assume, son / It makes an ass of you and me /…J-school!
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of / There’s nothing you can’t do/ But now no more J-school / The real world’s never that easy / But I’ll never get sleazy / Let’s hear it for.. / J-school!