Embracing a code of conduct for life

Column by Andrea W. Doray
Posted 9/16/20

I think most of us would agree that what we are about to see and hear in the next 50-some days from people across the political, social and economic spectrums is going to be unlike anything we have …

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Embracing a code of conduct for life

Posted

I think most of us would agree that what we are about to see and hear in the next 50-some days from people across the political, social and economic spectrums is going to be unlike anything we have ever experienced in this country. And not in a good way.

It is my belief that we will witness – or possibly be caught up in – massive demonstrations that, unfortunately, will likely include both spontaneous and coordinated violence from multiple sides. We’ll continue to be bombarded by conflicting information and often downright flat-out contradictions from people and organization we may once have trusted, about national security, the elections and the pandemic, which by any measure has killed far too many Americans.

My concern is that what we don’t see and hear, what is not transparent to us – to American citizens for whom all elected officials and their appointees work, by the way – what’s deliberately concealed from us is by far the most dangerous aspect of the coming weeks.

With accusations of “fake news” from all angles (and I have my own biases), I do find it helpful, though, to consume information from multiple news outlets … yes, even those that make me shout, shake my fist, or worse.

In these brutal times, though, there’s still always one place I trust for news and information that’s relevant to my community and to the issues important to me. Of course, I am referring to local journalism – professional, hard-working and vastly underappreciated local journalism like that you will find in these very pages.

Okay, this may sound like an ad for the newspapers to which I contribute … but it’s not. This is a full-throated endorsement, an unwavering advocacy, a resounding affirmation of their work. I know these writers, these editors, these publishers. I attest to the values and principles they hold, and the journalistic code of ethics to which they adhere.

These ethics and standards include the tenets of “truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and public accountability in the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public,” which is what you’ll find here.

And did you know there’s also a columnists’ code of conduct? The National Society of Newspaper Columnists, to which I belong, enjoins me to inform, educate, entertain, and provoke my readers to reflection, whether you agree or disagree with my efforts to depict the truth as I see it.

I will offer my opinions and the reasons I hold them as clearly and fairly as I can, and I won’t make up anything when describing true events, although I do reserve the right to engage in parody and satire on occasion.

I’ll always listen to my critics with dignity and respect, because you pay me the high honor of reading my words … even when you disagree.

Most importantly – and I don’t ever need a code to remind me – I recognize that my work as a columnist represents basic American rights of open discussion and free speech. I welcome your thoughts and comments at the email address below, and I heartily thank those of you who do reach out with both objections and praise.

To my way of thinking, affording the dignity and respect to others that we ourselves want and deserve is a code of conduct for life we all could embrace.

Andrea Doray is a writer who thanks you for reading. Contact Andrea at a.doray@andreadoray.com.

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