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Media Ethics: Issues and Cases

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (2018)

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  1. “I Always Watched Eyewitness News Just to See Your Beautiful Smile”: Ethical Implications of U.S. Women TV Anchors’ Personal Branding on Social Media.Teri Finneman, Ryan J. Thomas & Joy Jenkins - 2019 - Journal of Media Ethics 34 (3):146-159.
    ABSTRACTWomen television journalists have long faced criticism and harassment regarding their appearance. The normalization of social media engagement in newsrooms, where journalists are expected t...
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  • Media Ethics and the Coverage of Islam: Some Preliminary Observations on the British Media.Clara Tan - 2016 - Intellectual Discourse 24 (2).
    The way Muslims are portrayed in the media is now a very contentious issue. This article makes a preliminary investigation of how the Western media views and responds to Islamic issues with special emphasis being placed upon those Muslims who live as minority groups in predominantly white societies. Much of the contention appears to be based upon cultural norms rather than specific religious doctrinal differences. Thus the historical background as to how the western society has derived its ethical value system (...)
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  • Teaching and Assessing Learning About Virtue: Insights and Challenges From a Redesigned Journalism Ethics Class.David A. Craig & Mohammad Yousuf - 2018 - Journal of Media Ethics 33 (4):181-197.
    ABSTRACTVirtue ethics, a topic of growing interest in media ethics and philosophy more broadly, poses challenges for classroom instruction because it is rooted in long-term development of character. This article explores approaches for incorporating virtue into media ethics instruction and assessing associated student learning, based on an analysis of how students in a journalism ethics class demonstrated their understanding and application of virtues through activities tailored to virtue ethics. The analysis, in addition to suggesting the value of assignments such as (...)
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  • What Journalists and Researchers Have in Common About Ethics.David Kennamer - 2005 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 20 (1):77 – 89.
    The past several decades have seen an increase in the concern for the treatment of human participants in research. Similarly, the ways journalists treat their subjects and sources have generated much concern. The ethics of these 2 endeavors share much in common, because both must use people in various ways to reach their goals. The well-developed guidelines in research designed to protect research participants' autonomy, to guard against needless deception, and to recognize the special needs of vulnerable research participants have (...)
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  • The Use of Influence Tactics by Senior Public Relations Executives to Provide Ethics Counsel.Marlene S. Neill & Amy Barnes - 2018 - Journal of Media Ethics 33 (1):26-41.
    ABSTRACTSenior public relations executives prefer rational approaches such as research, case studies, and legitimacy appeals when raising ethical concerns to more senior leaders. However, women were more likely than men to seek allies and form coalitions as means for influence. Through in-depth interviews with 34 members of the Public Relations Society of America College of Fellows, this study provides new insights regarding successful and unsuccessful attempts at providing ethics counsel. The role of ethical conscience in public relations was explored through (...)
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  • Low-Stakes Decisions and High-Stakes Dilemmas: Considering the Ethics Decision-Making of Freelance Magazine Journalists.Joy Jenkins - 2017 - Journal of Media Ethics 32 (4):188-201.
    ABSTRACTFreelance journalists face many of the same ethical dilemmas as journalists working in newsrooms. Because they work independently for various organizations, however, they may develop different strategies for making ethical decisions. This study used in-depth interviews with freelance magazine journalists to explore how they define ethical dilemmas, the types of ethical questions they face, and the individual and organizational influences guiding their decision-making. The study sheds light on the normative frameworks guiding ethical deliberations among this group of journalists, particularly in (...)
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  • Have the Ethics Changed? An Examination of Ethics in Advertising and Public Relations Agencies.Erin Schauster & Marlene Neill - 2017 - Journal of Media Ethics 32 (1):45-60.
    ABSTRACTAdvertising and public relations executives claim the rules for ethical practices are changing. On the basis of 29 in-depth interviews with advertising and public relations executives, and an analysis guided by identity theories and moral justifications, new insights address the most pressing issues faced today, greater opportunities to behave unethically, and the lack of ethics training received. Some of the executives perceive a personal responsibility to be ethical, whereas others adopted a self-interested attitude by suggesting it’s the publishers’ or consumers’ (...)
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  • Ethics Education in Public Relations: Differences Between Stand-Alone Ethics Courses and an Integrated Approach.Marlene S. Neill - 2017 - Journal of Media Ethics 32 (2):118-131.
    ABSTRACTResearch has found that ethics are most likely to be integrated throughout the curriculum rather than taught as a stand-alone course in public relations. However, this study identified substantial differences in the types of content taught in the two formats on the basis of survey research with 96 educators. Some of the topics that are less likely to be taught outside of an ethics course included other codes of ethics beyond those of the Public Relations Society of America, classical theories (...)
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  • Ethics in the Digital Age: A Comparison of the Effects of Moving Images and Photographs on Moral Judgment.Aimee Meader, Lewis Knight, Renita Coleman & Lee Wilkins - 2015 - Journal of Media Ethics 30 (4):234-251.
    This study used a controlled experiment to see if moving images can improve moral judgment the same way that still images have in previous research. It found that watching a video only once caused participants' reasoning about ethical issues to decline significantly compared with those who saw a still photograph. This adds to the mounting evidence that still images elevate the quality of reasons used to make ethical decisions.The media have the power to not only set the public's agenda but (...)
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  • The Relationship Between Organizational Leaders and Advertising Ethics: An Organizational Ethnography.Erin Schauster - 2015 - Journal of Media Ethics 30 (3):150-167.
    Understanding the complexity of advertising ethics mandates an organizational approach to empirical research. Through the lens of Giddens's structuration theory, this ethnography examines the relationship between organizational leadership, one aspect of Schein's concept of organizational culture, and advertising ethics. Fieldwork at a full-service advertising agency and 45 one-on-one interviews were conducted regarding perceptions of organizational leadership as well as ethics in advertising. Findings suggest that characteristics of leaders, such as virtuous character, and espousing organizational values enable ethical awareness, while amoral (...)
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  • African Ethics and Journalism Ethics: News and Opinion in Light of Ubuntu.Thaddeus Metz - 2015 - Journal of Media Ethics 30 (2):74-90.
    In this article, I address some central issues in journalism ethics from a fresh perspective, namely, one that is theoretical and informed by values salient in sub-Saharan Africa. Drawing on a foundational moral theory with an African pedigree, which is intended to rival Western theories such as Kantianism and utilitarianism, I provide a unified account of an array of duties of various agents with respect to the news/opinion media. I maintain that the ability of the African moral theory to plausibly (...)
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  • Explicating the Moral Responsibility of the Advertiser: TARES as an Ethical Model for Fast Food Advertising.Seow Ting Lee & Hoang Lien Nguyen - 2013 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 28 (4):225-240.
    In adopting a deontological lens to assess message ethicality, this study identifies and explicates the ethical dimensions of fast food advertising through five principles of the TARES framework of persuasion ethics. In moral weight, fast food—with its high calories and low nutritional value—is negatively prejudiced. A deontological-ethical perspective, by focusing on the quality of the advertising message, shifts the focus from the product to a more measured deliberation about the moral responsibility of fast food advertisers to reposition them as moral (...)
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  • Books Received. [REVIEW][author unknown] - 2013 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 28 (3):223-224.
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  • Virtue Ethics and Digital 'Flourishing': An Application of Philippa Foot to Life Online.Patrick Lee Plaisance - 2013 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 28 (2):91-102.
    The neo-Aristotelian virtue theory of Philippa Foot is presented here as an alternative framework that is arguably more useful than deontological approaches and that relies less on the assertions of moral claims about the intrinsic goodness of foundational principles. Instead, this project focuses more on cultivating a true ethic; that is, a set of tools and propositions to enable individuals to negotiate inevitable conflicts among moral values and challenges posed by cultural contexts and technology use. Foot's ?natural normativity? connects the (...)
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  • Is Ideological Coverage On Cable Television An Ethical Journalistic Practice? An Examination of Duty, Responsibility, and Consequence.Aimee Meader - 2013 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 28 (1):1 - 14.
    (2013). Is Ideological Coverage On Cable Television An Ethical Journalistic Practice? An Examination of Duty, Responsibility, and Consequence. Journal of Mass Media Ethics: Vol. 28, No. 1, pp. 1-14. doi: 10.1080/08900523.2012.746533.
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  • Understanding Truth in Health Communication.Seow Ting Lee - 2011 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 26 (4):263-282.
    This study examines truthfulness through eight dimensions to explicate truth in health communication and explores the relationships between message truthfulness and message attributes and audience characteristics. A content analysis of 974 television antismoking ads from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reveals a high degree of truthfulness. Message truthfulness is related to thematic frames, emotion appeals, source, age, social role and smoking status, and positive framing of consequences. Ads targeted at teens/youth and smokers tend to have lower message truthfulness than (...)
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  • Agape As an Ethic of Care for Journalism.David Craig & John Ferré - 2006 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 21 (2-3):123-140.
    Although recent scholarship in diverse professional areas shows an ongoing interest in the application of agape - the New Testament's term for the highest order of self-giving love - no published work has made an in-depth exploration of agape in relation to journalism. This article explores what agape can contribute to media theory and practice. After explaining what distinguishes agape from other concepts of altruism and how agape can complement other approaches to compassion or minimizing harm, the analysis turns to (...)
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  • Mortality Morality: Effect of Death Thoughts on Journalism Students' Attitudes Toward Relativism, Idealism, and Ethics.David Cuillier - 2009 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 24 (1):40-58.
    This study, based on terror management theory from social psychology, examines how the thought of death affects journalism students' views toward relativism, idealism, and unethical journalistic behavior. College journalism students participated in an experiment where half were primed to think about death and the other half, the control group, thought about dental pain. Then, all of them completed a questionnaire measuring their attitudes toward ethics. Results showed that although those in the death group were no more fearful, they were less (...)
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  • Books Received. [REVIEW][author unknown] - 2010 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 25 (4):335-335.
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  • The Case for More Human Reporting.Jack Breslin - 2010 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 25 (4):333-335.
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  • Newsgathering and Privacy: Expanding Ethics Codes to Reflect Change in the Digital Media Age.Ginny Whitehouse - 2010 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 25 (4):310-327.
    Media ethics codes concerning privacy must be updated considering the ease with which information now can be gathered from social networks and disseminated widely. Existing codes allow for deception and privacy invasion in cases of overriding public need when no alternate means are available but do not adequately define what constitutes need or alternate means, or weigh in the harm such acts do to the public trust and the profession. Building on the ethics theories of Sissela Bok and Helen Nissenbaum, (...)
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  • The Hwang Scandal and Korean News Coverage: Ethical Considerations.Robert Logan, Jaeyung Park & Hyoungjoon Jeon - 2010 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 25 (3):171-191.
    This case study explores the ethical dimensions of the South Korean news media's coverage of the Dr. Woo Suk Hwang scandal and the extant journalism criticism. The study discusses the ethical issues associated with claims that Korean journalists acted too humanely, overemphasized scientific evidence, and were too culturally sensitive in their coverage of the Hwang scandal, and notes the broader implications for journalism ethical theory and criticism suggested by the study's findings. The case explores the differences in the ethical foundations (...)
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  • Journalism and Moonlighting: An International Comparison of 242 Codes of Ethics.Yehiel Limor & Itai Himelboim - 2006 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 21 (4):265 – 285.
    In this project, we assessed 242 codes of media ethics from 94 countries across the globe, focusing on their treatment of moonlighting. The analysis included whether the codes dealt with moonlighting, whether geopolitical and geoeconomic characteristics affected the treatment of the issue, and whether the type of media organization was significant. Only about half the codes addressed moonlighting; Eastern European countries paid the greatest attention to moonlighting, and newspapers and chains were more likely than other media organizations to deal with (...)
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  • The Media Ethics Classroom and Learning to Minimize Harm.Sharon Logsdon Yoder & Glen L. Bleske - 1997 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 12 (4):227 – 242.
    On e recent change in the Society of Professional journalists Code of Ethics emphasizes that journalists should consider minimizing harm to society. This emphnsis follows more than a decade of thinking by educators who have called for teaching journalism students moral philosophy and moral reasoning decision making models-models that generally examine potential harm that surrounds newsroom decisions. This study, a quasi-experiment, examines pretest and posttest results of 210 students in 9 sections of n mass media ethics class taught over 6 (...)
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  • Applying Kidder's Ethical Decision-Making Checklist to Media Ethics.Sherry Baker - 1997 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 12 (4):197 – 210.
    Kidder's checklistfor ethical decrsion making is recommended as an addition to the existing canon of modelsfor mass media ethics. Contributions in Kidder's approach include his dichotomy between ethical dilemmas m d moral temptations, his tests for right-versus-wrong and right-versus-right issues, his framework by which to clarify values in ethical dilemmas, nnd his sequencing of the decision-making process. Kidder's model is surnmnrized nnd discussed, revisions are suggested for classroom use in medin ethics courses, nnd tke revised model is applied to media (...)
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  • The Public's Right to Know: A Dangerous Notion.Brian Richardson - 2004 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 19 (1):46 – 55.
    As the basis for federal and state freedom of information laws, the legal idea of a public right to know has been a blessing. As the often-invoked moral justification for the press's right to publish, however, it is dangerous, because an unfettered right to know would result in restrictions on the press's right to determine what to publish. By acknowledging their moral responsibility to provide audiences with information based on their need to know, journalists can avoid the hazards of arguing (...)
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  • Public and Traditional Journalism: A Shift in Values?M. David Arant & Philip Meyer - 1998 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 13 (4):205 – 218.
    In a survey of newspaper staff members shows that, although implementation of public journalism projects is widespread at U.S. daily newspapers, tibe majority of jou!rnalists still adhere to traditional values in journalism practice and do not support public journalism values that depart from traditional journalism. Criticism of public journalism is that it poses a danger to traditional professional values of independence and objectivity. In the great majority of comparisons, we found thot journalists supporting certain public journalism practices were at least (...)
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  • Avoiding the Pitfalls of Case Studies.Sandra L. Borden - 1998 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 13 (1):5 – 13.
    C a s e studies have a wide variety of uses in ethics courses,from increasing ethical sensitivity to developing moral reasoning skills. This article focuses on ways to avoid 2 potential pitfalls of using typical case studies: lack of theoretical background and lackof suficient detail. Thefirst part explains how a personal ethics experience can be discussed as early as thefirst day of class in a way that sets the tone and expectations of an ethics course despite students' lack of exposure (...)
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  • When West Writes East: In Search of an Ethic for Cross-Cultural Interviewing.Rick Kenney & Kimiko Akita - 2008 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 23 (4):280 – 295.
    Cross-cultural interviewing can pose challenges for journalists, given potential differences in language, word choice, volume, body posture, and group dynamics. This article explores some of the complexities of cross-cultural interviews with the dual aim of heightening awareness of ethical considerations for journalists who conduct them and of discussing ethical principles that may help in guiding their work. This article attempts to move the discussion of cross-cultural interviews beyond traditional Western ethics. Eastern moral philosophy and ideals of trust and human relations (...)
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  • Being Aristotelian: Using Virtue Ethics in an Applied Media Ethics Course.Wendy N. Wyatt - 2008 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 23 (4):296 – 307.
    This pedagogical essay explores the tendency of undergraduate media ethics students to do what Bernard Gert calls “morality by slogans” and their tendency to misuse Aristotle's golden mean slogan. While not solving the dilemma of morality by slogans, the essay suggests some ways of rectifying the misuse of the golden mean and encouraging its more authentic application.
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  • The Model of the Principled Advocate and the Pathological Partisan: A Virtue Ethics Construct of Opposing Archetypes of Public Relations and Advertising Practitioners.Sherry Baker - 2008 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 23 (3):235 – 253.
    Drawing upon contemporary virtue ethics theory, The Model of The Principled Advocate and The Pathological Partisan is introduced. Profiles are developed of diametrically opposed archetypes of public relations and advertising practitioners. The Principled Advocate represents the advocacy virtues of humility, truth, transparency, respect, care, authenticity, equity, and social responsibility. The Pathological Partisan represents the opposing vices of arrogance, deceit, secrecy, manipulation, disregard, artifice, injustice, and raw self-interest. One becomes either a Principled Advocate or a Pathological Partisan by habitually enacting or (...)
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  • Not Biting the Hand That Feeds Them: Hegemonic Expediency in the Newsroom and the Karen Ryan/Health and Human Services Department Video News Release.Burton St John - 2008 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 23 (2):110-125.
    This study examines the use of a video news release in a specific story. Press coverage and editorial criticism in the case showed that journalists do not articulate sufficiently how the news owners' sway, through institutional controls, can lead to a hegemony of expedient action in the newsroom. Critical self-reflection by news workers will better enable journalists to ethically deliberate news choices that balance their responsibilities to owners, peers, and the public.
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  • Transparency: An Assessment of the Kantian Roots of a Key Element in Media Ethics Practice.Patrick Lee Plaisance - 2007 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 22 (2-3):187 – 207.
    This study argues that the notion of transparency requires reconsideration as an essence of ethical agency. It provides a brief explication of the concept of transparency, rooted in the principle of human dignity of Immanuel Kant, and suggests that it has been inadequately appreciated by media ethics scholars and instructors more focused on relatively simplistic applications of his categorical imperative. This study suggests that the concept's Kantian roots raise a radical challenge to conventional understandings of human interaction and, by extension, (...)
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  • Social Audits as Media Watchdogging.Walter B. Jaehnig & Uche Onyebadi - 2011 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 26 (1):2-20.
    The Hutchins Commission's notion of media responsibility is being re-invigorated by the Corporate Social Responsibility/sustainability movement among U.S. and European corporations, though media companies tend to lag behind in adopting these programs. One exception is Britain's Guardian News that is, that the concept is too vague and poorly elaborated.
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