Jacksonville State University's Integrity in Communications Committee discussed creating a code of ethics for the university's news bureau at the committee's first official meeting Monday.
The five-member committee is examining JSU's communications with the media and the public following reports of plagiarism in columns produced by a former news bureau employee, Al Harris.
The three plagiarized "Town and Gown" columns were credited to JSU President William Meehan and appeared in the Jacksonville News, which is owned by Consolidated Publishing Co., the parent company of The Anniston Star.
"I hope that the recommendations you have will become internal policy for the news bureau," Meehan told the committee Monday.
At its upcoming meetings — the committee hopes to complete its work in two more sessions — members plan to discuss what JSU courses teach regarding plagiarism and media ethics, and to examine whether other universities have codes of ethics, before arriving at recommendations.
The university is still examining past "Town and Gown" columns to make sure there was no other plagiarism, but the committee will focus on the news bureau's policies more broadly rather than just on the columns.
"This committee is not here as any kind of jury," Sam Monk, the committee chair, said Monday.
The five committee members are Monk; Glen Browder, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and JSU faculty member emeritus; Chris Waddle, president of the Ayers Institute for Community Journalism and a former editor of The Star; Felicia Mason, executive director of the Alabama Press Association; and Michael E. Malone, former executive director of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and former president of Troy State University-Dothan.
The committee will meet again Wednesday at noon and Monday at 2 p.m. in Bibb Graves Hall at JSU.