The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News / Edition 1by Gene Foreman
This textbook is envisioned as the basis of a college course in print, broadcast and online journalism ethics, for either graduate students or undergraduate juniors and seniors. The book will be designed for a 15-week semester with two and a half hours of classroom time each week, though an instructor could easily adapt the content to other academic schedules. The… See more details below
This textbook is envisioned as the basis of a college course in print, broadcast and online journalism ethics, for either graduate students or undergraduate juniors and seniors. The book will be designed for a 15-week semester with two and a half hours of classroom time each week, though an instructor could easily adapt the content to other academic schedules. The first one-third of the book will guide the students as they learn the principles of ethics and their application to resolving dilemmas in journalism. The remainder of the book will analyze the main themes of ethical issues in the newsroom and provide real-life case studies for the students to practice their decision-making skills. Instructors will receive a separate guide with PowerPoint presentations, a model course schedule, possible quiz and exam questions, and detailed suggestions on conducting the discussions of the case studies.
- Unlike other books in its genre, this text will be prescriptive and to the point. That is, it will not merely discuss the ethical issues of journalism; it will give aspiring journalists (and other interested students) the tools they need to make professional decisions they can defend. Rather than overwhelming the students with theory, this text will offer just enough to enable the students to thoroughly grasp the importance of ethics and to use their own sense of ethics to make those decisions.
- Unlike the other books, this will be written by someone who has both extensive newsroom experience andextensive teaching experience. With all due modesty, I submit that none of the authors in this field can match my combined experience of 41 years in the newsroom, including 33 as a managing editor, and my more than eight years as a college professor What I intend to do is to combine the ideas of leading scholars and leading journalists to create a text whose essence is practical advice.
- Unlike the other books, this text will be ready for teachers and students to use off-the-shelf for a one-semester course. The chapter sequence logically fits a teaching plan: Students first get a foundation in applied ethics and decision-making; then they examine in detail the main ethical issues that journalists face today. I field-tested this comprehensive approach in teaching the news media ethics course for 16 semesters, with appreciative student reviews. Another Penn State professor has successfully taught the course twice using the same material [see Malcolm Moran’s letter in this package].
- Unlike the other books, this text will incorporate the views of 15 to 20 distinguished journalists – print, broadcast and online – whom I will interview in depth as part of the research. These views will add an important dimension to my own views and to those of scholars and practitioners who will be quoted from existing books and periodicals and from interviews. (The enclosed sample chapters likely will be enhanced as a result of the interviews. For example, the interviewees will be asked why ethics is important in journalism, and their ideas likely will strengthen the introductory paragraphs. Throughout the second phase of the book, chapters will include selected interviewees’ responses to practical questions about applied ethics; for example, under “deception,” they will be asked whether it is acceptable for a reporter to “bluff” a source into revealing information by implying that the reporter already possesses that information. Working journalists disagree about the practice, one side arguing that it is unethical and the other maintaining that it is just resourceful reporting. The outside experts also will be asked to add their ideas on “the changing media environment,” Chapter 12, in which the book will address the trends affecting the relationship of the newsroom to the business side in the news media industry.) Finally, the teacher’s guide will contain these experts’ comments on the case studies, a feature that will be useful when the cases are discussed in class.
- Unlike some of the other books, this text will employ actual case studies rather than fictional accounts. Using actual cases imparts a sense of realism to the discussion and illustrates that, in making their professional decisions, the future journalists will be dealing more often with shades of gray than with black-and-white distinctions. Each case is selected to explain an important nuance in the ethical-issue themes (e.g., privacy, conflicts of interest, deception) that will be presented in the second phase of the book. The students will have an opportunity to match their decision-making skills against the trial-and-error efforts of the professionals who actually made the decisions. To facilitate the students’ preparation for class, a series of questions is included with each case.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Journalism Genes xvii
Part I: A Foundation for Making Ethical Decisions 1
1 Why Ethics Matters in Journalism 3
2 Ethics: The Bedrock of a Society 16
3 The News Media's Role in Society 24
4 For Journalists, a Clash of Moral Duties 39
5 The Public and the Media: Love and Hate 56
6 Applying Four Classic Theories of Ethics 74
7 Using a Code of Ethics as a Decision Tool 83
8 Making Moral Decisions You Can Defend 105
Part II: Exploring Themes of Ethics Issues in Journalism 121
9 Stolen Words, Invented Facts . . . Or Worse 123
10 Confl icts of Interest: Divided Loyalties 137
11 The Business of Producing Journalism 159
12 Getting the Story Right and Being Fair 183
13 Dealing With Sources of Information 208
14 Making News Decisions About Privacy 229
15 Making News Decisions About Taste 252
16 Deception, a Controversial Reporting Tool 268
17 Covering a Diverse, Multicultural Society 288
18 Ethics Issues Specific to Web Journalism 313
19 Ethics Issues Specific to Visual Journalism 336
20 Ethics in the Changing Media Environment 360
Conclusion: Some Thoughts to Take With You 378
Case Study Sources 381
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