In the Minimum Standards vs. Ideal Expectations article, I agreed with the sentiment that the better approach toward an ethics code is one that takes a more positive outlook. By giving journalism novices a guideline of what not to do they will know where the lines are, but they also may feel a lack of encouragement whereas an ethics code of ideal standards gives them a clearer picture of what to strive for. Also, a guideline of minimal expectations seems to be more of a static type of code and the world of ethics can change from day to day. Of course there are the concrete rules that do not change no matter what such as plagiarism, but some rules can and should be bent or even broken in special circumstances.
In the case of the journalist we talked about in class on Thursday who witnessed a soldier killing an apparently unarmed man the minimum standard might be to never give up raw material. However in this case there were extenuating circumstances that led to the journalist voluntarily submitting raw footage to the military although it is a practice that is more or less unheard of.
The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics was one that mixed minimal standards with ideal expectations. It seems like more of a code for novices to journalism and as a reminder for seasoned journalists. The Statement of Principles created by the American Society of Newspaper Editors seemed like a very dry and static version of an ethics code. Another example of minimal standards, it is organized like a constitution and (as a personal opinion) is equally interesting to read through. The RTNDA code of ethics also reflects the minimal standard and reads almost like a contract. It has the same basic material as the previous codes but does not expand on what we already know.
Of the ethics codes presented in the reading, my favorite was the National Press Photographers Association’s code of ethics.
The NPPA code of ethics, like the SPJ code of ethics, mixed ideal expectations with minimal standards but more clearly separates the two and goes into great detail about what visual journalists should include in their set of ideals.