Care as a virtue for journalists

Journal of Mass Media Ethics 21 (2 & 3):102 – 122 (2006)
The prevailing normative model of contemporary journalism, drawn primarily from a liberal enlightenment tradition emphasizing universal notions of rights, contributes to what many perceive as a crisis in contemporary journalism; at the least, Kantian models are too "thin" to provide an adequate ethical standard. We consider the extent to which an ethic of care, reconceived to address weaknesses identified in recent scholarly critiques, provides journalists with an alternative framework for moral decision making. We use the concept of unequal ethical pull to rework caring and to promote caring for distant others because caring that remains at the personal level is inadequate as a moral value. We conclude by noting that public journalism and our retooled ethic of care share several important ideals. We suggest a program of mutually beneficial exploration, one that might help today's journalists cultivate the virtue of care as they work toward justice.
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