Build Your Own Ethics Code

This project, still in draft form, has been created by about 20 volunteer writers and editors. It is designed to help news orgs, startups, individual journalists and bloggers create their own ethics codes.

This project is not complete. We’re in a editing stage now, preparing for the launch of a digital tool that will help journalists customize codes.

Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions or thoughts on the original content, we’d love to hear them to inform the guiding principles:

  • Are we reflecting the latest thinking on each issue we cover?
  • What subjects should we address that we’ve missed?
  • Is our approach truly international?
  • Can you suggest additional links to add?

We’ll be happy to credit you for any ideas added at your suggestion. We’ll also be grateful for ideas on how to improve the structure and usability of the materials.

Please feel free to put brief comments directly on our Google Docs pages. For broader comments, email us at

You may need to sign in with a Google account. Start with “A description of the project.”

Latest DIY Ethics Code posts

First round of crowdsourcing adds depth to DIY ethics code project

Crowdsourcing for the ONA Build Your Own Ethics Code project has been underway since May. Our thanks to the dozens of journalists and educators who’ve offered us really thoughtful comments. (A few people, by the way, thought that by “crowdsourcing” we were asking for money! No, we’re just looking for your equally valuable comments and critiques at

To recap briefly, the project is designed to help individual journalists, news startups and even larger organizations create ethics codes that reflect their view of journalism. Think of it as an ethics code construction kit, highly flexible except for some very fundamental principles that we believe all journalists need to accept.

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ONA launches crowdsourcing for DIY Ethics Code

The Online News Association has opened up crowdsourcing for our “do-it-yourself” ethics code project, aimed at helping news organizations, startups and individual bloggers and journalists create their own codes. The project’s operating principle: no single ethics code can reflect the needs of everyone in our widely varied profession.

The team developing the Build Your Own Ethics Code project has completed its first draft, covering more than 40 ethical issues. Now we’re hoping to get comments from working journalists on what we’ve missed – especially international and multimedia angles. Start by visiting our DIY Ethics Code resource page.

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