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Photo Ethics: Photojournalists’ Code of Ethics

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This activity introduces students to the standards expected of photojournalists in their daily work.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle and high school

TIME: 30-60 minutes

MATERIALS: National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics handout (download); Photojournalists’ Code of Ethics worksheet; newspapers, magazines or online access to news websites

PREPARE: Print copies of the handout and worksheet for each student or small group.


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Overview PDF DOC
Worksheets PDF DOC
Extensions PDF DOC
Full Packet PDF DOC

To request a large print or Braille version, call 202.292.6650.


  1. Individually or as a class, read the National Press Photographers Association Code of Ethics.
  2. Have each student or small group find five examples of photographs that do or do not comply with the ethical standards. Look for examples in newspapers, magazines and online.
  3. Have each student write a brief paragraph explaining why each photo shows the standard being implemented or shows a lack of the standard. Remind students to attach the examples to their writing.
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Have students share their findings and look for similarities.

  • Did most photographs follow the code of ethics?
  • Was it difficult to find examples that violated the standards?
  • Which standards, if any, were violated most often? Why do you think that is?
  • Why is it important for photojournalists to maintain standards?




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