Chess Journalists of America
Code of Ethics
Adopted August 11th, 1980
All journalism is reducible to a single primary function: to inform. In all
its many forms, journalism is a public trust; therefore, the ethical journalist
is duty-bound to protect the public interest and to preserve his own
credibility and that of his publication. The two main ethical ideals on which
the following guidelines are based are Truthfulness and Fairness.
- The public's right to know is served when it is given all the facts. It is
the responsibility of the journalist to ensure the accuracy of what he
published. The omission of a relevant fact is a distortion of the truth.
Significant errors in a published article should be corrected as soon as
possible after they are discovered.
- The journalist must be scrupulous in distinguishing between fact and
opinion and must make the difference clear to his readers.
- It is not ethical for a journalist or editor to knowingly misrepresent the
organization he ostensibly serves or to improperly use its publication for
- Elected and appointed officials are accountable, but so are journalists and
editors. Criticism must be supportable by factual evidence. The purpose and
nature of such criticism must be demonstrably in the public interest and not
serve merely to harass or discredit. Fairness dictates that a person whose
actions are criticized must be given the timely opportunity to explain those
actions or reply to the criticism, although practical considerations may not
permit concurrent response.
- The public interest is best served when it hears all sides of an issue,
preferably in the words of each side's natural advocate, and it is the editor's
ethical duty to present all sides. This in no way abridges a publication's
right to support one side, but the publication's bias must be clearly indicated
as such. Unsigned articles are assumed to be the work of the editor.
- Generally, more latitude in ethical matters may be tolerated in letters to
the editor. However, the editor must judge whether printing a given letter is
in the interests of the public and the organization that his publication
represents. Personal abuse and unverifiable allegations should never be
- If a journalist or editor is engaged in any occupation which may affect or
seem to affect his objectivity, it is unethical to withhold that fact from the
- The public has the right to know when it is being sold something;
commercial advertisements may be presented in the form of news stories, but the
fact that they serve commercial interests should be made clear to the readers.
- No article or other proprietary work may be published without the necessary
proprietary consents. This does not apply to unannotated scores of chess games.
- Chess Journalists shall not plagiarize the works of others.