Media Ethics is independent and inclusive. It is editorially eclectic and neither its sponsors, its editor, or its staff are responsible for its content.  It strives to present and examine ideas, provide a forum for opinion and research articles on media ethics, as well as a venue for announcements and reviews of meetings, opportunities, and publications.  Media Ethics welcomes any and all contributions. All submitted manuscripts are subject to editing at the discretion of the editor.


Photographs and other illustrations often are digitally altered. Unless otherwise specified, authors and photographers retain all rights to their work, subject only to print and electronic publication by Media Ethics itself.

The Marketplace of Ideas-With a Vengeance

0n2y6ns3Betsy Stepp

By Jane B. Singer

The nature of information and the notion of truth-what it is and how to arrive at it-are changing dramatically online. The challenge comes mainly from a group of more or less ordinary folks with a relatively new kind of Web site. They call themselves bloggers, and they create and maintain blogs.

A Primer: Blogs and Blogging

by Jane Singer

Blogs have four main characteristics: Use of the format to express personal opinion, use of extensive links, reliance on second-hand information, and user participation.

In the Wake of Jayson Blair: A Conversation with The New York Times Public Editor Daniel Okrent

0r1r47usDiana SchobergBy Mike Dillon

As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis observed long ago, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." Since his column's debut in December 2003, Daniel Okrent has cast light into that most Byzantine and imposing of American media institutions, The New York Times.

Seven Deadly Corporate Sins

9400tyu0Diana Scoberg


By Michael Bugeja

Bottom-line corporate practices that eliminate fact-checking, paid internships and adequate newsroom personnel-while promoting technological shortcuts that improve "productivity"-are factors in many ills, including plagiarism and diversity, which the industry can address by reinvesting in newsrooms.

Cook the Books and Get Burned: Newsday's Fall from Grace

3785d984Diana SchobergBy Jaci Clement

One of the largest daily papers in the country, is being sued for overcharging advertisers because it claimed its circulation was much higher than it was. How high? About 100,000 daily copies too high.

Whose Money Should I Take?

wff4s913Diana Schoberg

By Jeffrey L. Seglin

Outrage ensued about the propriety of commentators and columnists-such as Armstrong Williams and Magie Gallagher-taking money from groups they regularly write about. But the issue got murkier when I started to contemplate the appropriateness of payment columnists receive for the work they do outside their column.

Conflict and the Professional Setting

3bqjir77Diana SchobergBy Louis W. Hodges

Most readers of this magazine are painfully aware of cases of gross misbehavior by journalists. I think these cases are best understood to grow from moral conflicts of interest-conflicts that are inevitable in professional life.

Let's Not Presuppose

570utzdmDiana SchobergBy Bill Knowles

If there's a word that has a red flag attached to it during the teaching of media ethics, that word is presuppose. The only presupposition that makes sense is that young journalists need to be taught that their careers presuppose fairness.

Fifty Years of Beating the Same Drum

468d15v3Achibald Willard/Betsy SteppBy John C. Merrill

When I began teaching journalism, we were concerned with a number of problematic areas affecting the press: Press freedom, press responsibility, bias and propaganda, lack of ethical concern. Today, as I look back over more than 50 years of teaching, I am intrigued by two things: (1) that the intervening and current concerns are the same, and (2) that, in spite of all the rhetoric and conferences that have focused on these problems, nothing really has changed.

Campaign Coverage 2004: Old News, Fake Fairness, Phony Balance

t95u2n0xDiana SchobergBy Russell Frank

Reporting confers legitimacy and relevance. Before they allow themselves to be used by this or that interested party, reporters and editors must first ask: Is this a story? How much of a story is it?

Muted or Missing: The Photography of War

f3xmfp8yDiana SchobergBy Jerry Lanson

Stark images of death and destruction filled the front page and newscasts after the recent Asian tsunami. They belonged there, I believe, both to inform the public and engage it in an event too remote for most to grasp. I believe that disturbing and even shocking photos also belong equally on the front page of papers and at the top of the evening news when the subject is Iraq.

Bottled Prose: The Ethical Paradox of the Wine Press

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By Robert D. Richards

If wine coverage is becoming increasingly important, it may be time for a thorough examination of the journalistic practices associated with the coverage of the wine industry.


Confidentiality Update

214yo67uDiana SchobergBy A. David Gordon

In the previous issue of MEDIA ETHICS ("The Ethical Face of Confidentiality," Fall 2004, p. 6) I reported on current events involving one of the ethical principles of American journalism: The granting of confidentiality to sources by journalists and defense of that principle in the courts. In the same issue, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. and Russell T. Lewis analyzed The New York Times' position in the Judy Miller case involving the disclosure of a CIA employee's name and position.


By Manny Paraschos

A Compendium of Global Ethical Minutia: impartiality, irony, and a boy named Yahoo.

Learn by Doing: Ethics and Student Imitation of Media Programs

p557y05qCory HopkinsBy John Soares

How do you balance the creative desires of media students, and their willingness to push the envelope, with the priorities of the institutions within which they work and the audience whom they work for?

Go Daddy Gone: Moral Panic, Advertising and the Super Bowl

691p7dk9GoDaddy.comBy Lawrence A. Wenner

In the wake of Janet Jackson's "nipplegate", a look at the current climate for sexual innuendo and political satire in advertising.

Obligation, Regulation and Ownership of Media Firms

By Kenneth Harwood

Moral obligations of media firms in the United States might be seen as obligations of any firm, and as special obligations of a media firm.

Some Musings on Plagiarism

hhmg7141Cory HopkinsBy Douglas Perret Starr

Plagiarism, the passing off as one's own the words of another, has been cropping up in the news of late, giving rise to the idea that plagiarism is a modern occurrence. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The practice of benefiting from the writing of another has long been held to be a violation of both ethics and law.

Publications 2005

Publications in the field of media ethics.

Important Changes in Media Ethics

Media Ethics has changed owners and addresses.

Although the editor, production assistant and co-publishers remain the same, some new members have been added to the family and there is new contact information.

Contact Information Spring 2005

MEDIA ETHICS 186 Tremont St. Boston, MA 02111

PHONE: 617-824-7808

E-MAILS: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Dr. Mike Kittross, editor--contact for manuscript submissions and editorial inquiries)

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Craig Nickels, editorial and production assistant--contact for all other matters) cchrstns@uiuc.

Call for Announcements Spring 2005

We consider our "town crier" function to be an important one.

Publishers' Addresses

Whom to talk to about ordering books we've reviewed.

Book Review - Media Musings: Interviews with great thinkers

John C. Merrill, Ralph D. Berenger & Charles J. Merrill (2004).

Media Musings: Interviews with great thinkers. (Spokane, WA: Marquette Books). 205pp. ISBN 0-922993-15-7 $39.95. Chapter further reading lists, questions for discussion.

Book Review Index through Spring 2005

Book reviews by issue and author.

Fellowships, Classes, and Awards Spring 2005


* Please note change of date The Harvard University Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics (formerly the University Center for Ethics and the Professions) has announced the deadline for its 2006-2007 Faculty Fellowships in Ethics: Tuesday, November 1, 2005.

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