Any code of ethics can be the heart and soul of a profession, an organization, or a firm, and has many functions. The same code may act as hard-and-fast rules, prohibitions, and instructions, as well as general guidelines for practice, interpreted by each practitioner.  It may serve as comforter, encourager, mentor and disciplinarian. It may be used for training and education, public relations, and thinking through goals, purposes and aspirations. Unfortunately, although it can serve to make the public familiar with our standards, it also can be misunderstood or otherwise used as ammunition by those opposed to the principles journalists have adopted as a way of life and career. Nevertheless, it can be a lasting repository of common sense. Although it may stimulate controversy as well as agreement, and other organizations may promulgate their own codes, there should be no doubt that the current most important example of such a code in the field of media ethics is the recent revision of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, and much of this issue of Media Ethics is devoted to examination of that revision from numerous viewpoints, including: