Journal of Mass Media Ethics 20 (1):62 – 76 (2005)

This study investigates the ethical implications of American newspaper policies that call for the automatic rejection of anonymous submissions to "letters to the editor" forums. The investigation is a qualitative analysis of more than 30 practitioner essays printed in journalism trade journals in the mid-to-late 20th century and interviews conducted with editors from 16 U.S. newspapers. The analysis found that contemporary American editors exhibited a blind spot toward anonymous commentary that seems to be in contention with certain tenets of codes of ethics. Although editors took some steps toward making ethical arguments in favor of those policies, they either truncated or skipped some steps-such as considering all of the facts, considering journalistic principles, and acknowledging their personal biases toward anonymity-in making ethical decisions. The study concludes that editors who make ethical arguments in favor of "must-sign" policies should reconsider either their ethical justifications for those policies or the utility of the policies themselves.
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DOI 10.1207/s15327728jmme2001_5
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A Conceptual Analysis of Ethics Codes.Deni Elliott‐Boyle - 1985 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 1 (1):22-26.
Leaks: How Do Codes of Ethics Address Them?Taegyu Son - 2002 - Journal of Mass Media Ethics 17 (2):155-173.
Editor’s Note.[author unknown] - forthcoming - Project Muse®: Philosophy and Rhetoric - Latest Articles.

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