AEJMC Code of Ethics

Preamble and the Core Values

AEJMC Code of Ethics

Overall Preamble: AEJMC members are educators, scholars, and advocates of free and responsible journalism and media, and free inquiry in pursuit of knowledge. We are committed to fulfilling our responsibilities with high standards of professional competence and integrity in the service of our discipline, peers, students, institutions, and society. We adhere to the following core values:

  • ACCOUNTABILITY. AEJMC members act with openness and transparency in our scholarship, teaching, and service roles.
  • FIDELITY AND TRUTH TELLING. AEJMC members value honesty, promise-keeping, and faithfulness to our discipline and stakeholders.
  • JUSTICE. AEJMC members strive for fairness, impartiality, and distributive justice in our relationships with peers, students, and other stakeholders. We celebrate and promote diversity.
  • CARING. AEJMC members act with respect, sensitivity, consideration of others, compassion, and mercy. We try to protect others from abuse and coercion.

In Research

Preamble: AEJMC members follow ethical research standards as researchers, in designing, conducting, analyzing research; when publishing research; as reviewers, referees, and editors; and as teachers, including when teaching methods and supervising studies. As researchers, AEJMC members are committed to:
Accountability. AEJMC members accurately and fully document sources for ideas, words, and pictures. We never plagiarize or take credit for another individual’s work, whether published or not, nor do we ever fabricate data. We safeguard the integrity of research data and report accurately and fully a study’s purpose, procedures, and results. Authors inform editors when manuscripts are based on dissertations or theses. Researchers who discover errors after an article is submitted, accepted, or published immediately inform the journal’s editor.
As editors, reviewers, referees, and research chairs, AEJMC members handle manuscripts with confidentiality and integrity during every phase of the review process. We evaluate manuscripts without reference to our personal preferences or political agendas. We do not use the material from unpublished manuscripts to advance our work; as editors, we ensure that authors whose work we are publishing conform to ethical standards Because multiple and simultaneous submission policies vary by disciplines, AEJMC editors and research chairs make submission guidelines public.
Fidelity and truth telling. AEJMC members submit to journals manuscripts representing original work, not work that has been published elsewhere. AEJMC members design our work to be free of conflict of interest, and we ensure that the conclusions of our work are consistent with the data we find. We inform subjects of our status as researchers. We do not tailor studies to produce outcomes consistent with interests of funding sponsors or institutions, nor do we conceal data or slant the writing of a study to satisfy an outside sponsor or funding agency.
Justice. AEJMC members acknowledge co-authorship credit fairly and accurately, such that the order of co-authors’ names is consistent with the level of involvement for each coauthor. When the contribution of co-authors is truly equal, we agree on and explain the order for listing co-authors.
Caring. AEJMC members protect research participants; treat all research participants with respect, fairness, and integrity, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, religion, culture, or sexual orientation. We ensure that participants provide informed consent and that participation in research is not coerced; keep promises regarding confidential information.

In Teaching

Preamble: AEJMC members believe in the worth and dignity of each human being, recognize the supreme importance of the pursuit of truth, devotion to excellence and the nurture of democratic principles — especially the nurture of freedom of expression. We recognize the magnitude of the ethical responsibilities inherent in the teaching process. As teachers, AEJMC members are committed to:
Accountability. AEJMC members respect the autonomy of others, including of individual learners, their development and their learning needs. We acknowledge the rights of students, faculty, and staff to make their own decisions as long as their decisions do not interfere with the welfare or rights of others.
AEJMC members are accountable to students and colleagues, accepting responsibility for our part in student welfare and development. We deliver the services to which students are entitled (e.g. dependable performance in teaching, advising); whenever appropriate, we acknowledge assistance from students or colleagues. We recognize and attempt to fulfill our role as exemplars, both in scholarship and in ethical behavior, and ensure that ethical principles guide the supervision of students and mentoring of junior faculty. We do not tolerate, even passively, unethical behavior on the part of colleagues or students. Simultaneously, we are collegial with colleagues, staff, and students, and promote environments conducive to teaching and learning; we do not involve students in faculty conflicts.
Fidelity and truth telling. AEJMC members exhibit honesty and keep promises to students and colleagues. We demand and foster ethical academic conduct; avoid conflicts of interest and other behavior that would reduce others’ trust in the faculty or academic profession; display openness in dealing with students, colleagues, and the public. We use procedures for informed consent whenever applicable.
We value academic freedom and freedom of expression as well as appropriate, respectful reactions to ideas and opinions expressed by students as well as colleagues; we label our own opinions as such and expect others to do the same. We foster student discovery, rather than indoctrination.
Justice. AEJMC members are committed to fairness and equity. We treat others as we would wish to be treated under similar circumstances; maintain fair and judicious practices when evaluating students or colleagues; pursue sanctions for academic misconduct only after gathering thorough evidence; advocate and practice non-discrimination in all aspects of teaching. We accord dignity to students and colleagues; respect the confidential nature of the student-instructor relationship; respect diversity in all its forms. We are committed to extended participation in higher education in journalism and mass communication, and especially to equality of educational opportunity.
Caring. AEJMC members seek to minimize harm. We engage in relationships with students and colleagues that are not exploitative; do not coerce students to select our favored dissertation and thesis topics, or give undeserved co-author credit; seek consultation when ethical problems arise; and attempt to mitigate any injurious effects of bias in our work. We convey personal ideology or positions in respectful ways; and do not manipulate or coerce social or political behavior in our students. We exercise institutional duties with care, extending compassion and sensitivity to the greatest extent possible toward students and colleagues.
AEJMC members pursue excellence. We engage in continued reflection, evaluation, and improvement in both our subject and in pedagogy. We engage in continuous professional development by learning and adopting new instructional methods and strategies; are open to criticism and new ideas from students and colleagues; take pride in our work and encourage students and colleagues to do the same.

In Professional Freedom & Responsibility

Preamble: Professional freedom and responsibility encompasses research, teaching, and service. This is related to AEJMC members’ interaction with the media professions through preparation of students for media careers, research examining media roles and responsibilities, and service to the professions through engagement and training. Service in support of professional freedom and responsibility is an essential expectation of every AEJMC member. Members work in support of the principles of professional freedom and responsibility within this organization, at our home institutions, and in society at large. As ethical researchers, teachers, and citizens, AEJMC members are committed to:
Accountability. AEJMC members conduct (and encourage students to conduct) constructive evaluation of the professional marketplace. We work with practitioners and industry watchdog groups to inspire media analysis, to foster media accountability, and to promote attention to ethics in journalism and other forms of mass communication. We act as media critics on our campuses and within our communities.
Fidelity and truth telling. AEJMC members nurture, promote, and protect free expression, particularly freedom of speech and freedom of the press, at all levels and at all times. AEJMC members work to improve the understanding of free expression intellectually, historically, and legally. We also work to implement this freedom in the broadest sense: within organizations, on campuses, in our communities, and nationally and globally. Free expression is a fundamental right. When that right is threatened, we act on our ethical obligation to serve as the voice and support of free expression on our campuses and communities.
Justice. AEJMC members work to ensure that racial, gender, and cultural inclusiveness are included in curricula, considered during hiring decisions, and taken seriously by media organizations with which we collaborate. We encourage AEJMC divisions and interest groups to embrace racial, gender, and cultural inclusiveness and include populations historically excluded from public communication.
Caring. AEJMC members have a mandate to serve society beyond our teaching and research. We offer services related to our appropriate professional fields, particularly activities that enhance understanding among media educators, professionals, and the general public. We assist AEJMC, other media organizations, and media practitioners.

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