Take that, News-Press: Nine journalists who quit the paper are
being honored with an Ethics in Journalism Award.

SPJ honors Santa Barbara journalists with Ethics

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

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

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

· Jerry Roberts, former executive editor of the Santa Barbara

· 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

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.

Coincidence? Right after News-Press
journalists petitioned the feds Thursday to hold an election on
unionization of the newsroom, management staged a major shakeup,
according to sources. Many of the same people who signed cards
asking for an election found that their beats had been switched, in
some cases far distant from their specialties and experience.


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