Ethics Week Capsule: John O’Connell, Editor of LI Herald

imageIt’s Ethics Week and the Press Club of Long Island is honoring the week by hosting another digital capsule project on We’ll be posting commentary on our website from influential journalists about ethics throughout the week.

First up, John O’Connell, Executive Editor of Long Island Herald and former PCLI President:

“In the pressure of getting a story, finding sources who’ll talk, making sure all your facts are accurate and you have all your facts, your writing is compelling and on deadline, it’s too often the case that we leave ethical considerations, the right and wrong of what we’re doing, to the end of the process, if at all.

It’s important that we pause to consider the consequences of our words and photos on the people in our stories or referred to or affected by our stories. How will family members be impacted? How will victims be affected? Are we deceiving readers? Are we damaging our own credibility or trustworthiness, sacrificing them for an ill-considered scoop?

That’s not to say that any and all harmful impacts are to be avoided, it just means we need to write consciously, write and photograph with circumspection and an appreciation for the power we wield with every word and phrase, every click of the shutter. And we should do this not only for ethical reasons, but to make sure we have thoughtfully considered all the dimensions of our stories, perhaps discovering gaps in fairness and completeness.”

Read the other Ethics Capsules

About Ethics Week: Ethics Week 2015 is April 27-May 1, and the revised Code of Ethics gives SPJ a little something extra to celebrate this year. Ethics Week is a time to recognize journalists who seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and are accountable and transparent.Click here to learn more about SPJ Ethics Week.


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