Codes of Ethics

Do codes of ethics apply to copy editors? If so, explain how.



  1. Code of ethics especially applies to copy editors because it would be a double standard if it didn’t. Since the copy editor is the last person to see the story, they have to make sure that detail in the story is right. The code of ethics might be different for a reporter than a copy editor because they are both on different ends of a story. While the reporter must report correct facts, not use friends in stories, etc., the copy editor are checking and verifing information and making sure the reporter isn’t breaking any of the codes of ethics of the newsroom. If they let a story go into print with a code of ethics being broken, the copy editor should be in much trouble as the reporter. Again, the code of ethics applies differently to both a reporter and a copy editor. They both need to study the code of ethics of their newsroom and know what’s allowed and what’s not. It will also help the reporter if the copy editor knew the codes of ethics because if the reporter is out in the field and can’t remember if taking food from a restaurant that’s under $25 for free is unethical, it would be nice for the reporter to call another reporter or a copy editor and get an answer. So, codes of ethics should apply to not only copy editors, but to everyone in the newsroom.

    Comment by lamarhreporter — September 27, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  2. Copy editors definitely need to abide by the code of ethics. The copy editors job is to fix the stories and if they do that unethically it will not only make the reporter look bad but the paper will suffer as well. Also copy editors need to know the code of ethics so they are able to point out when a reporter is being unethical in their story. A copy editor needs to know almost everything about the paper they work for so that they know what style they use and what the rules are with ethics. Being a good copy editor is knowing when a fact or quote is false and fixing it or telling the reporter to fix it. If the copy editor knows the story has false information and they do not do anything about it they are breaking the code of ethics which they should know. If a copy editor does no abide by the code of ethics not only the story but the paper as a whole can be affected by it.

    Comment by Beth Steele — September 28, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

  3. The first part of the code of ethics is to seek truth and report it. This principle is the most important rule to abide by when copy editing. It is the editor’s job to seek truth by checking the facts of the stories that reporters write and editing the stories properly. This means not adding words or imagery to sensationalize stories.
    Minimizing harm is another guideline that editors have to stick to. Following this rule includes elimination any incriminating material found in articles that misreresent people, events or organizations reported over. Editors can eliminate libel by cutting out vulgar language or stereotyptic titles that reporters have written. Telling reporters to rely on one or more sources will give stories a more truthful and reliable approach.
    Editors also have to act independently when attending their daily duties. The editor’s job is to call out any journalist who may have damaging information represented through their stories, and the editor has to ack independently and decide how he or she should treat unethical related matters. Along with reporters, editors also have to be wary of receiving gifts and rewards from sources or other agencies in order to promote them through the publicaions.
    In order for editors to be accountable for their actions, they have to both explain news to the public and invite others to make commentary about cettain issues concerning them. Editors also have to admit mistakes, uncover unethical practices and abide by the high standards that they give to their peers and reporters under them.

    Comment by Alesha Bailey — September 28, 2009 @ 8:15 pm

  4. Everyone working in media must follow some kind of code of ethics. If a copy editor is not sure if some facts in the story are correct he or she can not just trust the reporter that he got the facts checked. The copy editor must go and check the facts or ask the reporter to go check them again. Copy editor is the last person to read an article before it goes off to print he or she must check everything to make sure it is correct. If the editor is slacking off then no one will catch that mistake. Also a copy editor can not change the stories to fit their views or their opinions. The only things that they can change are style and make sure the facts are correct. Everyone in journalism should follow some kind of ethics including copy editors.

    Comment by Michael Stopka — September 29, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

  5. Yes the code of ethics applies to copy editors. The code of ethics applies to everyone in journalism. Copy editors have a lot of authority and say in what goes into a newspaper, so they have to go by the code of ethics. Seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable are all code of ethics. A copy editor has to make sure all the information and sources they receive are accurate and this goes along with seeking the truth and reporting it. By minimizing harm a copy editor has to fact check. A copy editor needs to act independently by not taking bribes and by being unbiased. They also have to be accountable for their actions. So if a copy editor makes a mistake or doesn’t find a mistake in a story they copy edit then they have to own up to that mistake. The code of ethics always applies to copy editors, no exceptions.

    Comment by slbilharz — September 29, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  6. There should never be a point that the Copy Editor doesn’t follow the code of ethics. If they expect their reporters to follow and maintain a certain standard, then they themselves should definitely follow it as well. Owning up to a mistake and excercising good journalism is not a rule but an expectation.

    Comment by Kaitlin Sullivan — September 30, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  7. I think all journalists have to live by the code of ethics. Copy editors most of all. They carry the creditably of the newspaper on their shoulders. Editors have to make sure the story read throughly correct and truthful. If there is false information in the story, then that could create problems for the newspaper, reporter and even the editor. Editors need to check and re-check facts to make sure they are correct in every possible way. Also, to show the reporter how things are done they need to follow it too. If an editor doesn’t follow the code of ethics, then why should the reporter. The code of ethics applies to everyone and should be used mostly by editors.

    Comment by Kristin Jording — October 1, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  8. Code of Ethics should apply to all copy editors. They have a very important job of making sure everything is correct within a story. Therefore, if they did not have to follow the Code of Ethics then I believe that would be morally wrong. As a matter of fact, I believe that everyone who is involved in the news room and have any play in what gets published in the newspaper, should have to follow the Code of Ethics. It is just the way news works and you need to be consistent throughout the entire news room on what you expect.

    Comment by Colleen — October 2, 2009 @ 3:20 pm

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