Life as a student journalist: Newswriting and the Code of Ethics

Want to know what it’s like being a reporter for The Pinion?


By An Vo

Want to know what it’s like being a reporter for The Pinion? Newswriting students learn the basics of journalism and will advance on their way from reporter to editor.

An Vo

Learning blogs are short articles that talk about, obviously, what one has learned. The Pinion staff began writing blogs in 2013 about what they learned about journalism but stopped for unknown reasons. I want to bring back this trend as it’s a part of The Pinion’s traditions.

What is Newswriting?

Newswriting is a curricular and production class that allows its students to work with other people to produce the school’s student-led newspaper, “The Pinion.”

Everything that reporters write about should be focused on the readers of The Pinion. In order to get information to write articles about what our readers care about, we, as Pinion staffers, ask lots of questions.

Journalists have to be specific in everything they do. We use notebooks to jot down information and a recorder to record sources to keep our credibility by correctly writing what our sources tell us.

When interviewing people, reporters must introduce themselves as a member of a newspaper. In this case, I would refer to myself as a reporter for The Pinion.

Reporters also need to say what they’re looking for in the interview, the goal of the interview; it can be an opinion about an event or a surprising piece of information about the source.

To end the interview, the reporter must ask the source to sign the notebook to prove that the interview isn’t flawed.

Code of Ethics

Seek Truth and Report It – Journalists should take responsibility for their work by gathering, reporting, and interpreting information. Using credible sources and verifying information before publishing is a must.

Minimize Harm – Ethical journalists treat their sources with respect. Using common sense and thinking before doing is crucial to being a successful journalist.

Act Independently – Committing your own time to fulfill the role of a journalist such as interviewing people and putting their quotes into a story is vital. Everyone must do their part to ensure the newspaper’s completion. What this really means is that reporters should be obligated to no one other than their audience. You do not write stories because your teacher, principal, coach, friend, … tells you to. You write articles because you think your readers want or need the information.

Be Accountable and Transparent – Being accountable to your readers, listeners, viewers, and other journalists is an important skill to have. Meeting deadlines and providing what should’ve been done on time builds strong character. For us, this also means telling our readers where we get our information and, if we make mistakes, admitting and correcting it.

Language errors were corrected on 2/2/2020.