The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communications at the Penn State University College of Communications is partially supported by a major grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Last year, 11 academics and professionals received a total of $54,500. In the coming year, the Legacy Scholars program expects to award a number of grants from $1,000 to $25,000, for a total of $75,000. Details of the themes for this year's call for proposals are available from the Page Center. The deadline for receipt of proposals is March 6, 2009.

*For further information, contact Cinda Kostyak, associate director, The Arthur W. Page Center, College of Communications, 201-C Carnegie Building, Penn State University, University Park, PA 16802; Telephone: 814.865.3070; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Web site:


The Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellowships at Princeton are awarded by the University Center for Human Values for a full year of writing about ethics, political theory and human values. Application materials must be submitted not later than early November of the year preceding the Fellowship, and decisions will be announced by early March.

*Information may be obtained from the Center at 304 Marx Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544; Telephone: 609.258.4798; Web site:


The World Association for Christian Communications has launched a Web portal on communication rights as part of its effort to establish a global Centre for Communication Rights. It may be found at http://www.


Cecilia Friend & Jane B. Singer (2007). Online Journalism Ethics: Traditions and Transitions. (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe Inc.) xxvi + 246 pp. ISBN 978-0-7656-1574-9. $28.95 (paper); ISBN 978-0-7656-1573-2. $68.95 (hardbound). Chapter notes, appendices (SPJ code of ethics, Founding principles of the Online News Association, Key concepts from Kovach & Rosenstiel The Elements of Journalism), eight case studies, chapter notes, index. Although no one with brains would bet everything they possessed on the proposition that online journalism will remain just as it is far into the future, this book is an excellent first step in describing current ethical practice in blogs and other online journalistic endeavors, connections to past practices in traditional media, and the authors' predictions for the future. Online journalism is still in its infancy. Although Friend and Singer originally thought of using a number of contributors for each chapter, with the text arising out of the "threads" of online discussion, that proved to be a little too radical for the final product. Instead, 18 short position papers and comments from many of these contributors (including the author of this review) are placed throughout the book as "exhibits" that provide as many unique views. Friend and Singer consider the attributes of the "online environment" to be "interactive, instantaneous, and constantly changing." Those working in traditional media will need to adapt to this new environment, and those studying to enter the media similarly have to adapt what they have been learning. Online Journalism Ethics should make this metamorphosis easier to achieve for those working at any level. Although the authors are deeply into the online world, professionally and personally, they do not lose sight of the values of the "traditions" of print and broadcast journalism even while they relish many of the "transitions" that they are reporting and analyzing. Following a clear articulation of the practices and promises of journalistic ethics in a digital world, this book-which can be used as both a textbook and a monographic description of what has happened and is happening-is divided into eight chapters. The first chapter discusses journalistic traditions, conventions and ethics-from their history to the applied technologies that constitute the "new media." It is unafraid to spell out the basics of some of journalism's shibboleths: independence, the inverted pyramid and "objectivity." The second describes how newsrooms have gone online, and how the role of gatekeeper has evolved. Among the questions discussed here is the ever-more-salient need to define "who is a journalist?" Following these sections, Online Journalism Ethics goes into the gathering and sharing of information (and how verifications can be conducted), the relationships between ethics and the law, and bloggers and other "participatory journalists." The last three chapters are willing to go beyond the present to the future. Chapter 6 discusses other interactive news forms (including user-generated content, polling on the Web, interactive dialog through E-mail, and how news organizations are adapting to (and initiating) citizen media. Chapter 7 brings in commercial issues and content linking, and the last chapter discusses cross-platform journalism, partnering, and cross-ownership. Obviously a book such as this, at the cutting edge between what might be found today and what might be dreamed about for the future, will need to be updated frequently. In magazines and newspapers I received within the past 24 hours, at least three new ideas for use of the Internet have emerged and were being written about-a rate of change faster than that found in teen-age slang. Online Journalism Ethics, however short the life expectancy of some of the things it writes about, is well worth having in one's library-and reading.


Thomas Cathcart & Daniel Klein (2007). Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar.(New York: Harry N. Abrams) iv + 200 pp. ISBN 13: 978-0-8109-1493-3. $18.95 (hardbound). Timeline, glossary and many good jokes. Most of the regular readers of this magazine could, without much difficulty, find a more detailed and scholarly survey of the entire field of philosophy. But it wouldn't be nearly as much fun! The subtitle of Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar.tells us what to expect: "Understanding Philosophy through Jokes." And it does an excellent job of doing what it claims. It is designed as a trade book, and not as a text, and includes many old (and quite a few new) jokes as well as a number of very apt cartoons. I would strongly urge all teachers of media ethics to highly recommend this as an adjunct or even as a substitute text for that part of the course that tries to introduce students to the complexities and contradictions of philosophy. The students will love it. And so will the instructor's relatives, friends and the instructor him- or herself. Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar. provides a great deal of information and many ideas in its 200 5"x7" pages. Ethics, per se, only gets some 20 pages, but the other sections-metaphysics, logic, epistemology, philosophy of religion, existentialism, philosophy of language, social and political philosophy, relativity, and meta-philosophy-give the reader a much more rounded view of the entire field than is common, in language that is understandable. Rather than praise this volume more than I already have, let me conclude this review with a bow in the direction of the dedication (to Groucho Marx, "who summed up [the authors'] basic ideology when he said: 'These are my principles; if you don't like them, I have others.'") and the last words in the book's acknowledgements: ".we want to express our belated apologies to Immanuel Kant for never completely understanding him. We feel your pain, Manny."