Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, August 11, 2006

SBNP Nine to Receive Ethics Awards

An anon and John Stodder was nice enough to send us this news -- and he has written about it here.

SPJ honors Santa Barbara journalists with Ethics Awards

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Beth King, Communications Manager
(317) 927-8000, ext. 211,

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists is presenting an Ethics in Journalism Award to nine California journalists who resigned rather than accept and enforce a series of top-management decisions at the Santa Barbara News-Press that they believed violated provisions of the SPJ Code of Ethics.

When they left the News-Press in July, all nine journalists, including five top editors and a veteran columnist, cited improper ownership and management meddling in the editorial content of the privately owned newspaper. They pointed specifically to sections of the SPJ Code of Ethics that call upon journalists to “distinguish between advocacy and news reporting” and to be “accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other.”

SPJ traditionally steers clear of management-employee disputes, and understands the prerogatives that come with newspaper ownership. It does not take a position either way on formal workplace grievances or union activity resulting from internal disputes.

Nevertheless, the Society has concluded that the tumultuous events that led to collective resignations at the Santa Barbara News-Press were precipitated by breaches in the newspaper’s foremost ethical obligation – to its readers – and is proud to support those who have put ethical convictions above professional security.

Selected for the national journalism organization’s highest ethics award are:

• Jerry Roberts, former executive editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press.

• George Foulsham, former managing editor.

• Don Murphy, former deputy managing editor.

• Gerry Spratt, former sports editor.

• Michael Todd, former business editor.

• Jane Hulse, former city editor.

• Colin Powers, former presentation editor.

• Former columnist Barney Brantingham, a
fixture at the newspaper for 46 years.

• Scott Hadly, former reporter.

The Ethics in Journalism Award honors reporters, editors or news organizations that distinguish themselves by performing in an outstanding ethical manner as defined by the SPJ Code of Ethics. News organizations around the world have long regarded the Society’s Code of Ethics as the defining standard of ethical conduct among professional journalists.

“We pay tribute to the courage and principled sacrifice of these nine journalists, who opted to risk their livelihoods rather than remain in a position where they felt their journalistic ethics and professional credibility were being violated,” said David Carlson, president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Carlson said the Society decided to present the awards after initiating a comprehensive inquiry into the issue. The investigating team, which included several national board and committee members, solicited the views of many of the honorees as well as News-Press owner and Co-Publisher Wendy McCaw before deciding to recognize the nine journalists.

Roberts will accept the award on behalf of the nine Santa Barbara journalists on Saturday, Aug. 26, during the President’s Installation Banquet at the 2006 SPJ Convention and National Journalism Conference at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Courage deserves recognition and I hope this top national honor gets lots of national press--because it may be the last time the words “News Press” and “Award” are ever mentioned in the same sentence. Word on the green is that, in order to make the new cub reporters feel at ease, the News Press mgm’t. has changed everyone’s beats. So now old and new reporters alike will have no sources, no history and no background, creating a perfectly-(low)level amateur playing field. It may make for amusing reading, but real seekers of truth will head elsewhere for local enlightenment, and I hope they take their ads with them. Thanks Sara, Edhat, Indy and Sound for being there.

8/11/2006 1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike Pinto says...

Where is the courage they exhibited? Did they do anything to help focus attention to the growing homeless problem? Or the plight of non-native born working americans? They all were corporate writers so it doesnt matter if they left. SBNP is still a tool of the corporate power structure.

8/11/2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Congratulations to Jerry, George, Don, Gerry, Michael, Jane, Colin, Barney and Scott for having the courage to follow their professional ethics and for this recognition of their professional and personal courage.

So often these days values and ethics are bargain basement items while money, pandering and sleaze are trophies. It's a sad, sickening trend. But the "higher ground" these editors and reporters have chosen is a bright spot, and a reminder that true heroes still abound.

Thank you.

8/12/2006 7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear "Mike Pinto Says"-- Courage comes in many forms, and each of us has our own bar of bravery to crawl, claw or stumble over. One of hardest choices of life (and they make movies about this dilemma) is to be faced with the horrifying alternative of ethics vs. livelihood--it is an oppression that workers in the United States in 2006 should not have to that, MP, is why I labeled the NP "Dearly Departed" as courageous, because, in my book, they are extremely honorable role models.

8/12/2006 10:08 AM  
Anonymous thelonglegs said...

. . . validate good times, come on.

google news:
Ethics carry the day for nine scribes who quit paper
The Statesman, India - 1 hour ago
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12. — The Society of Professional Journalists has said it will give an ethics award to nine journalists who ...

8/12/2006 4:00 PM  
Anonymous bender said...

Geez, why do my comments get left on the editing room floor?

Let me rephrase. My point was that how nice it must be for someone (no name mentioned this time) to get paid for whining about their ex-employer every week.

Sara, are you getting even more biased than before to have cut this benign remark? What up.

8/12/2006 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you cut out the cheap shots your comments won't 'get left on the editing room floor'. Who is whining now?

8/13/2006 5:37 PM  
Anonymous bender said...

I don't get paid to whine...bummer for me. Barney B's the man who get paid to publish his whine list once a week. And this blog fires more cheap shots than Dick Cheney at a turkey reserve. Get real, pals.

(Sarah, are you gonna post this??? If not, then just let everybody know that you've fully switched into a one-sided format. JUST BE REAL. )

8/15/2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Bender -- come on...I've said time and again, I don't care what your opinion are welcome to speak it here. I'm not going to post things that are off subject or one-liners that are just plain mean around your anger a little bit with words and you'll do just fine.

If you think BB is one sided -- check out all the posts from Nelville Flynn and others who are apologists for the News-Press -- they express their opinion in a reasonable way, which I will always post.

8/15/2006 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do awards that come from an industry that Photoshop's news coverage mean anything?

8/16/2006 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Nell Flan said...

yep, the whole industry in America through SPJ is corrupt because a stringer photographer from Lebanon, working for Reuters in Britain, dislikes Israel and altered his photo to show more smoke from an attack on the terrorists

try looking at it the other way, in that the news company Reuters found the forgery and published the story that it was a fortery, and then excised all of the photos by that partisan from their news archives

8/16/2006 11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nell - you have your facts wrong. Bloggers called Rueters on the fraud, and they reluctantly pulled the photos. It took public outcry, don't give them any credit they don't deserve.

These actions have undermined (along with other things by other news outfits) the whole industry.

8/16/2006 1:04 PM  

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