Code of Conduct

In June 2018, the Board of Directors of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc., adopted this comprehensive Code of Conduct for Officers, Directors, Staff, and Members. A code of conduct is not a legal requirement for ASJA, nor was the decision to adopt one a reaction to a sudden outbreak of unruly or unethical conduct on the part of anyone. Adopting a Code of Conduct was a proactive step by the Board as a public reaffirmation of ASJA’s long-standing commitment to the highest standards for ethical and professional conduct in all aspects of the organization’s dealings. As they have in the past, the principles set out in the Code will continue to guide ASJA’s efforts to provide a welcoming and productive experience for everyone participating in our programs and activities.


The open exchange of ideas, freedom of thought and expression, and mutual respect for the organization’s leadership, staff, and members are central to the continuing mission of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc. (ASJA). In furtherance of this mission and to provide a welcoming and productive experience for everyone involved in organizational activities, the ASJA has adopted this Code of Conduct. ASJA is dedicated to the highest standards of legal, professional, and ethical conduct and compliance with this Code will enhance and protect the reputation and integrity of the organization. Leadership, members, and staff of ASJA should familiarize themselves with this Code of Conduct, but failure to read the Code will not excuse non-compliance.

Membership in ASJA comes with many benefits and a few obligations, the most important of which are these:


The leadership, staff, and members of ASJA are expected to always treat others, whether within or outside the organization, with professionalism and respect. To that end, harassment will not be tolerated.

Harassment can take many forms. For the purpose of this Code of Conduct, “harassment” is any behavior (including online communications) that is deemed to be hostile or offensive. It includes, but is not limited to:

● Verbal or written comments or communications that are insulting, degrading, or threatening;

● Verbal or written comments or communications that are sexually graphic or sexually suggestive;

● Sustained disruption of talks, presentations, or other ASJA-sponsored events;

● Deliberate intimidation;

● Initiation of inappropriate physical contact of a violent or sexual nature;

● Unwelcome sexual attention, including repeated flirtations or advances;

● Promoting, encouraging, or intentionally concealing any harassing behavior.

Intent to offend is not an element of harassment, which also includes actions that are intended to be jokes, teasing, or kidding.

Harassment also includes non-compliance with specific standards of conduct established for participation in ASJA programs such as the Forums, Client Connections, and virtual activities.

Leadership and staff of ASJA shall respond appropriately to any act of harassment, whether seen or reported by a third party. Members of the organization who are victims of harassment, or who observe any such acts, are expected to report the incident to leadership or staff. An appropriate response shall be based on the circumstances of the situation and may include an investigation into the incident and/or sanctions against the individual or individuals responsible for the harassment. Such sanctions may include suspension of access to an activity or program for a length of time deemed by the Board of Directors to be appropriate to the incident. In extreme circumstances, suspension may be permanent or membership in ASJA may be revoked pursuant to ASJA's Bylaws.

Violation of Professional Ethics and Responsibility Standards

The leadership, staff, members of ASJA, and others participating in ASJA events are expected to always maintain a high level of professional ethics and responsibility. This standard includes, but is not limited to:

● Recognizing that ASJA resources are limited and should be used responsibly and for their intended purpose, and that those resources specifically include the time and effort of volunteers and staff;

● Conducting ASJA business matters with honesty, integrity, due diligence, and competence, and always in the best interests of ASJA;

● Avoiding conflicts of interest, whether real or perceived and disclosing existing conflicts of interest;

● Treating others, whether inside or outside ASJA, with respect;

● Leading by example when serving the needs of ASJA.


This Code of Conduct applies to ASJA leadership, volunteers, members, staff, and to everyone attending an ASJA event, including speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and vendors.

Members shall not be entitled to reimbursement of membership dues for loss of benefits imposed pursuant to this Code of Conduct.

Founded in 1948, ASJA is the nation's leading professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. Our membership includes outstanding freelance writers of magazine articles, trade publications, custom content, books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing, each of whom has met ASJA's exacting standards of professional achievement. ASJA recognizes the importance of a free and unfettered press and for decades the organization’s advocacy in support of the First Amendment has been unwavering. This Code of Conduct respects ASJA’s advocacy in support of free expressions while ensuring the professional atmosphere and experience that its leadership, volunteers, members, and staff deserve.


  • A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.
    – Sidney Sheldon
  • A critic is a man who knows the way but can't drive the car.
    – Kenneth Tynan
  • A good many young writers make the mistake of enclosing a stamped, self–addressed envelope, big enough for the manuscript to come back in. This is too much of a temptation to the editor.
    – Ring Lardner
  • A young musician plays scales in his room and only bores his family. A beginning writer, on the other hand, sometimes has the misfortune of getting into print.
    – Marguerite Yourcenar
  • All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary – it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
    – Somerset Maugham
  • Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs.
    – Christopher Hampton
  • Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
    – Lawrence Kasdan
  • Copy from one, it's plagiarism; copy from two, it's research.
    –Wilson Mizner
  • Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them.
    – Flannery O'Connor
  • I just wrote a book, but don't go out and buy it yet, because I don't think it's finished yet.
    – Lawrence Welk
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  • I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done.
    – Stephen Wright
  • It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous.
    – Robert Benchley
  • It's a damn poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.
    – Andrew Jackson
  • Most writers can write books faster than publishers can write checks.
    – Richard Curtis
  • No fathers or mothers think their own children ugly; and this self–deceit is yet stronger with respect to the offspring of the mind.
    – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
    –Somerset Maugham
  • Writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub. Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It's a wonder that most of them don't.
    – Stephen King
  • Writing a novel is like spelunking. You kind of create the right path for yourself. But, boy, are there so many points at which you think, absolutely, I'm going down the wrong hole here.
    – Chang–rae Lee
  • Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good.
    –Samuel Johnson