U:SA is happy to report that 67% of respondents indicated they have a formal, adopted code of ethics at their stations. However, only 33% of those statements have been approved or signed-off on by the licensee institution. One respondent indicated the approval was from 4 administrations ago and that it was time for an update.

Only 11% of respondents were not reasonably familiar with the University of Illinois/WUIS Springfield events that required news reporters to report the names of news sources to the University Title IX office. As shown in the graph below, 88% were familiar or very familiar with the events that launched this national discussion.

When asked the level of concern manages had in their ability to preserve the firewall between the news department and the licensee or other outside forces, 22% indicated they are not concerned , while 66% are concerned or very concerned.

Respondents generally felt that all public media organizations should be involved in discussions regarding firewall issues and protections for journalists. The highest vote-getters included:

NPR 100%
U:SA 89%
PMJA 78%
PRPD 67%
NFCB 67%

One responder stated,

“Everyone should be involved. (While) ProPublica is not public broadcasting, I feel it could accomplish its advocacy for firewall protections through grants and contracts with university stations. Hearing about accommodations to policy that happen for various research grants, I feel that moving through channels universities are familiar with would work well.”

Another responder requested standard policy language be developed that stations could adapt, adopt and use.

The final survey question regarding the level of interest station leadership had in participating in in an open ended brainstorming discussion among colleagues to identify ways to strengthen the firewall section of U:SA’s Tenants of University Public Radio (and TV) Ownership document generated high levels of interest 55% of respondents indicating they were interested or very interested in such a discussion.

Thanks to all who responded.

The U:SA Board of Directors will be discussing next steps at its upcoming meeting and will report the results of that discussion back to you.

To support your work on this important issue, U:SA has posted three examples of station policy statements that have been adopted at University Licensee stations, and approved by the administration.

WAMU Statement of Editorial Independence and Transparency
WUOT Editorial Integrity Statement
WUSF/University of South Florida Statement

To follow-up on the survey results and these station documents, be sure to read The Strategy Behind the Statement of Editorial Independence and Transparency where J.J. Yore, WAMU General Manager, talks about the formation of the WAMU Journalism Task Force and their charge to develop the journalism standards that now guide WAMU and the American University.