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Wrap-Up: Wash. Collegiate Journalism Conference

SPJ’s Code of Ethics was present front and center at the Washington Collegiate Journalism Conference on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the University of Washington.

Student journalists from 13 two-year and four-year colleges attended sessions focused on skills such as storytelling, page design, interviewing techniques and photojournalism, along with ethics programs involving social media, student concerns and professional conduct. The conference was co-sponsored by the Western Washington Pro chapter of SPJ and The Daily, student newspaper at the UW.

Speakers included Eli Sanders, associate editor of The Stranger, the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing, and Mike Hiestand, former staff attorney with the Student Press Law Center who received SPJ’s First Amendment Award this year.

Attendees learned about the role played by the Washington News Council in serving as a watchdog of the news media. They viewed a film of a June, 2012, news council hearing involving a complaint by numerous members of a Seattle elementary school community against KIRO 7 Eyewitness News. The hearing panel, composed of ordinary citizens and past and present news media professionals, frequently referred to SPJ’s ethics code in commenting that the television station had violated the following provisions of the code: Seek Truth and Report It, Minimize Harm, and Be Accountable. KIRO 7 declined to send a representative to the June hearing, nor did it accept an invitation to attend the student conference.

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