The Department of Journalism Code of Conduct was created to serve as a practical guide for students as they advance in their academic careers. These policies are meant to encourage students to meet the high standards in the news industry and earn the privilege of becoming a journalist with ethical standards. It is a compliment to University Academic Integrity Policy, which students are required to read and follow.

Journalism is by its nature a public act. As stated in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, journalists must recognize that the work of “gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort” to others and must do all they can to “minimize harm” and ensure their work is “accurate, fair and thorough.” Therefore, student journalists must always be clear, upfront and honest about who they are and what they are doing. They are expected to abide by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. Students must take full responsibility for their conduct and work.

The policy below is not all-inclusive, but identifies situations that frequently arise among Journalism students.

Prohibited Conduct

Plagiarism is a serious offense. Do not use words, phrases, or ideas without proper attribution. This includes copying content from the Internet. When in doubt, ask if it is acceptable or see the University Student Information Guide.

Essentially, plagiarism means trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. It does not necessarily mean copying an entire paper, although that would clearly be plagiarism.

For example, you plagiarize if you:

  • Use an interview someone else did or use a quote someone else obtained and don’t credit the source.
  • Cut and paste a variety of sources and cobble them together without proper citation and with no evident thought on your part as to the thrust of the piece.
  • Lift a segment verbatim without citation.  A few words here or there are permissible – there are only so many ways to say “Edward R. Murrow died of lung cancer” – but you can’t drop in even a sentence of somebody else’s work verbatim into your piece if you don’t credit it. Just listing the title of a source in a bibliography is not sufficient. You must be very clear about the source of words that are not yours, put quotes around verbatim usage, and cite the source in the text of your paper or article. Remember,if you take a direct quote from another source, word-for-word, you must not only cite but you must put it in quotation marks. Failing to put quotation marks around something you have appropriated is a serious issue and could result in lowering of your grade or a formal referral for academic discipline.
  • Use facts and figures that are not common knowledge without citing the source, creating the impression you gathered the information yourself.
  • Use your own work from another context without citing that it was used previously. If you are researching or reporting on a topic that you have written on before, you must clear it with the professor before hand.

In addition, under the Journalism Department’s Code of Conduct, students may not:

  • Fabricate ­– Deliberately invent or alter information with the intent to deceive.
  • Cheat – Misrepresent one’s mastery of material on an academic exercise or help someone else do so.
  • Misrepresent oneself or work.
  • Submit late work without penalty.
  • Use others’ words or media without proper attribution and copyright permission; it is always best to use third-party content that is licensed under Creative Commons.
  • Use friends or relatives as sources for stories.
  • Submit work, in part or in full, from another class.
  • Pitch same story or assignment in multiple classes.
  • Conduct interviews via email without prior approval from instructor.
  • Submit assignments in alternate form than required (i.e. via email when required to submit in person).
  • Act unprofessionally to the instructor or other students in the classroom.
  • Habitually leave class early or arrive late.
  • Repeatedly fail to participate in class.
  • Use cell phones or electronic devices in class for non-class activity.

Consequences for Violations of Code of Conduct

Instructors will use their discretion to ensure that these policies are met. The consequences for violating the Code of Conduct will be based on the seriousness of the offense and be determined by the instructor, and when necessary, in consultation with the chair of the department.

For serious violations (i.e., plagiarism, fabrication, cheating, lying), students may:

  • Fail the course.
  • Have the incident reported to Academic Integrity Review Board for further disciplinary action.

For major violations, (i.e., violating copyright, improper sourcing, submitting work from another class), students may:

  • Receive no credit for the assignment.
  • Be required to attend a workshop on academic integrity.
  • Have incident reported to Provost’s office.

For significant violations (i.e., submitting late work, failure to attribute facts, using friends or family as sources), students may:

  • Lose points or fail an assignment.

For minor violations, (i.e., using cell phone in class, failing to participate, or repeatedly arriving late) students may:

  • Be asked to leave classroom.
  • Lose points for participation/attendance.