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The Los Angeles Times’ “Code of Conduct”: 1999 v. 2005

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I have quoted from the Los Angeles Times’ “Code of Conduct” in posts over the past two days.

Because the Times’ did not respond to my requests for these guidelines, I used the 1999 “Code” found via the web at the American Association of Newspaper Editors website: I quoted these 1999 guidelines to CJRDaily’s Steve Lovelady and New York University’s Jay Rosen in interviews conducted on my program today. (The transcript of Rosen’s interview will be up at later this weekend.)

Now a new version of the Times’ “Code of Ethics” has appeared at the ASNE website, with this header:

Author: The Los Angeles Times
Published: January 29, 1999
Last Updated: October 17, 2005

The ASNE website does not indicate that this “Code” has been updated in the past 24 hours.

What has changed between the 1999 “Code” and the 2005 “Code”?

I can’t find the 1999 “Code” online and I didn’t take a screenshot of it, so I can’t be sure. But I cannot find in the 2005 “Code” the 1999’s “Code’s” guarantee that:

Fabrication of any type is unacceptable. We do not create composite characters. We do not use pseudonyms.

(Emphasis added.)

Have I just missed this guarantee in the 2005 “Code”? Or was it removed? And if it was removed, why? Did pseudonyms come into play post-1999?

I went hunting for this guarantee tonight because of another Patterico post, a new one, which announces that he has received another anonymous comment from a Los Angeles Times’ IP address.

And Patterico has now discovered that this anonymous Times’ employee has been by his blog before, spewing the phrase “fascist” about.

Did the Times’ change its 1999 policy against pseudonyms in order to encourage such model journalism?

Or to avoid having to punish such practices?

And did the Times ask the ASNE to update its webpage today in order to obscure the Times’ changes in policy over the past seven years?

Inquiring minds want to know.

That’s unfair to the Enquirer. The Enquirer would be more forthcoming than the Times.

UPDATE: Found it. The prohibition carried over from 1999 to 2005:


We live and work in a media environment suffused with hyperbole. It is The Times’ intention to stand distinctly apart from that world and speak straightforwardly to readers.

Fabrication of any type is unacceptable. We do not create composite characters. We do not use pseudonyms.

(Emphasis added.)

So there is no “out” for Patterico’s poster, or Michael Hiltzik for that matter.

The search for changes between 1999 and 2005 continues.


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