In the wake of the Shirley Sherrod incident and what it exposed about the deteriorating state of contemporary journalism, Jonathan Bernstein, the editor of an Internet-based crisis management newsletter called "Crisis Manager," is proposing that the journalistic and news-consuming community fight back against the lagging quality of journalism in the U.S. by utilizing a tool that has largely fallen by the wayside in contemporary reporting: the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics. Bernstein cites the round-the-clock demand for news, fewer reporters due to falling ad revenue and the growing popularity of sensationalism in news as exacerbating the declining quality of news reporting in the U.S. He urges news consumers to hold news producers accountable for adhering to the journalistic Code of Ethics to ensure the quality of their reporting. The Code outlines proper behavior for journalists. Its four main tenets are, "seek truth and report it, "minimize harm," "act independently" and "be accountable" for what you write. Bernstein maintains that adhering to the Journalists' Code of Ethics can help minimize or avoid or the damage caused by irresponsible news reporting.
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