The National Press Club Journalism Institute’s guiding principles and practices

The National Press Club Journalism Institute educates, equips, and empowers journalists and professional communicators to serve the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. Through this work, the Institute grows an engaged global citizenry and advances an independent and free press. By following this list of principles and practices, the Institute supports a healthy community of peers and partners who enable this work and extend our collective impact for a stronger democracy. The Institute is proud to be the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club.

Protect safety.

  • The physical and emotional wellbeing of this team and community is our first priority. 

Ensure diversity.

  • We are committed to inclusion by representing the diversity of this country in all aspects of our work and programming. We are dedicated to promoting accurate news media portrayals of all segments of society, whether by race/ethnicity, gender, age, religion, physical and mental ability, sexuality, economic background, or educational attainment.

Respect differences.

  • We seek first to include, listen, understand and demonstrate respect for different perspectives and lived experiences. Then, we find common ground. 

Assume positive intent.

  • Most people are doing the best they can with the information they have and experiences they’ve lived. Our interactions with each other start there.  

Encourage autonomy. 

  • We value everyone’s ability to make their own decisions; it’s part of what makes work meaningful for us all. We aim for boundaried decisions that don’t exceed our authority or pre-empt someone else’s autonomy to make decisions on their own behalf. 

Proactively seek alignment.

  • In areas of partnership, before we make decisions, we establish a shared understanding of our goals and responsibilities. 

Appreciate interdependence.

  • We recognize the interconnectedness of our choices and their consequences. When there are decisions that affect several people or organizations, we proactively seek alignment.

Directly resolve conflict.

  • If something is keeping us up at night, we directly address it. We start by assuming positive intent, respecting differences, and discussing the impact on us. If it’s bothering us enough to discuss with someone, we discuss it with the person most directly involved. 

Demonstrate learning.

  • We invest in growth and support each other’s development. When we fall short, we seek ways to learn. And when we make a mistake, we acknowledge it, clarify the consequences, and commit to educating ourselves, changing our behavior next time, and enlisting support for accountability and backup.
  • We consult our guts but recognize their limitations and use data to inform daily and strategic decisions, continuously optimizing based on the best information available. 

Trust agility.

  • We extend trust when just-in-time decisions require adaptations. We value consistency of purpose while actively identifying areas to experiment and flourish. To accomplish our work and practice these principles, we will stop doing things that have outlived their intent or effectiveness.

Eliminate harassment.

  • We are an inclusive community that sometimes falls short but will not tolerate abusive behavior from anyone, whether that abuse is physical, emotional, verbal, sexual, harassing, bullying, demeaning or otherwise interfering with our ability to do our best work for the communities we serve. We know there will be a range of consequences for people exhibiting that behavior.

Practice transparency. 

  • We will keep communication open and share relevant information with each other.

As part of the Institute’s 2022-2024 strategic plan, the Board and staff developed the above principles. To read the full plan, see our 2021 Annual Report.