OWAA Code of Ethics


To establish principles and standards that promote and maintain high levels of personal and professional conduct on the part of all members.

We are expected to conduct our professional business and personal relationships with integrity and with a sense of propriety that benefits ourselves, our association and our profession.

Courtesy and adherence to rules of legal conduct should be observed at all times.

The following code is comprised of Rules and Canons. Canons are axiomatic statements, expressing in general terms the professional conduct expected of OWAA members in their relationship with the public, with suppliers of goods and services, with editors and publishers and with fellow communicators. Rules are mandatory. They state the minimum level of conduct below which no member of OWAA can fall without being subject to disciplinary action.

Rules must be applied equally to all members. But the Code does not prescribe either disciplinary procedures or penalties for violations of a rule; those are covered in paragraph 3.8 of the OWAA Bylaws. Penalties for a violation of the Code include suspension and/or expulsion, as well as lesser penalties.

OWAA requires the Code to be observed by all members. Acceptance of the Code is a condition of membership.

Canon I

We Shall Maintain Integrity With OWAA And Our Fellow Communicators


  • 1. No member shall use the OWAA insigne to imply endorsement by our organization of any action, product, idea or event sponsored by said member, without the express written consent of OWAA. This does not restrict or prohibit members from displaying the insigne as a means of exhibiting a member’s affiliation with OWAA.
  • 2. Proper use of the insigne on stationery or bylines is with the accompanying designation of “Member (Active or Associate}.” This is to avoid any implication that the communication is on an official OWAA basis. The insigne must not be so used without this designation.
  • 3. No member may use official OWAA stationery except for use in the conduct of official business of the association. Official Code of Ethics correspondence shall be on current stationery.
  • 4. No member shall make a false statement in connection with his qualification for membership, or continued membership, or in connection with any review of an alleged violation of the ethical code.
  • 5. Plagiarism must be avoided. Members should take pride in producing original work.
  • 6. No member shall provide the OWAA membership list or directory to any nonmember. Any requests for such material must be referred to the Executive Director for handling.

Canon II

We Shall Deal Fairly With All Phases Of The Outdoor Industry


  • 1. Lease, loan, gift or discount sale of equipment and services are commonly accepted practices between manufacturers and outdoor communicators. But no member should solicit equipment or services or other financial remuneration or benefit not associated with his journalistic pursuits. In soliciting or accepting equipment on any basis, a member shall first establish the conditions of acceptance to avoid misunderstandings.
  • 2. Members shall not agree to give favorable editorial publicity as a means of obtaining equipment, services or financial remuneration or benefit, and shall refuse any item, service or other financial remuneration or benefit that is conditional upon a promise to produce such publicity.
  • 3. Members shall return consigned goods at the end of the agreed period of consignment, or make other disposition as arranged with the provider of the goods, making an honest report to the supplier and providing him any published reports pertaining to the product.
  • 4. Discounts commonly extended to members of OWAA as a courtesy do not involve ethical concern except that the member shall recognize this privilege as being for his benefit only. Discount purchases for others, except with the approval of the supplier, constitutes an abuse of this privilege. Courtesy discounts are common but not universal. It is recommended that when a member contacts a manufacturer about a possible purchase, an inquiry about discounts is advisable. Prompt payment in response to an invoice is, of course, mandatory.
  • 5. It is recognized that adverse conditions beyond a member’s control can disrupt or cancel planned projects involving consigned equipment. It is a member’s obligation to promptly advise the consignor when this is the case.
  • 6. A member may accept accommodations, travel, meals or other related services if there is a reasonable expectation of a salable story/stories resulting.

Canon III

In Dealing With The Public We Shall Strive For Accuracy And Truth At All Times


  • Truth is sometimes an elusive element. However, honesty and fairness are to be sought by all members. A member shall strive for reportorial accuracy, fairness in controversy and objectivity in the best interest of the public.
  • Where definitive truth is unknown, but facts are important to development of a story, the presentation should clearly indicate which elements are opinion, and whose opinions they are.

Canon IV

In Dealing With Editors And Publishers, We Shall Provide Original Materials Or Qualified Articles


  • 1. A member shall sell no rights that he/she does not own. There is no requirement that a photo or story be sold only once; however, a member should be cognizant of the rights he has sold and not sell the same rights again. If a difference of opinion occurs on rights to be transferred, the matter should be resolved on transfer of the rights and not left to be a matter of later dispute.
  • If a member sells reprint rights, or rewrites a previously published story, he should apprise the new purchaser of the prior usage if a conflict could exist.
  • 2. If photos or editorial materials have been furnished by others, the member shall so advise the publisher and request that proper credits be given.
  • 3. A member must respect the publication priority of a purchasing publication and avoid submitting a closely equivalent article or photo to any other publication in an overlapping field. If the purchasing publication holds the material unpublished for an excessive period of time, and the member wishes to reuse the material, he should negotiate with the publication for the return of the rights to photos or other material.

Canon V

We Will Maintain Adherence To All Federal, State And Local Laws And Regulations Including Fish, Wildlife And Conservation Regulations

  • Rules
  • 1. A violation of any law resulting in a felony conviction shall automatically dictate referral of the member to the Ethics Committee.
  • 2. A member shall never knowingly violate fish or game laws or regulations. It is our obligation to become knowledgeable of these laws and regulations in any area where we fish, hunt or visit for other purposes. We should discourage others from such violations and report transgressions of which we become aware. But we maintain our right to challenge the validity of wildlife laws for due cause, still obeying them while they are being challenged.
  • 3. It is the obligation of members to ascertain conservation attitudes and procedures within the areas of their i nterest and involvement, and to encourage conduct that benefits our environment and the creatures thereof.

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