Fall 2012, Vol. 24, No. 1
Edward H. Spence; Andrew Alexandra; Aaron Quinn; & Anne Dunn (2011). Media, Markets, and Morals. (West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell). 240 pp. $34.95 (paper). ISBN 978-1-4051-7547-0. $34.95. (Also available as book on demand ($83.95) and e-book ($22.99)). (Chapter notes; Cases; Study Questions; Index)
The problem with many books on media ethics is their tendency to approach moral issues in a post-mortem manner, dissecting past violations through the 20/20 vision that is hindsight. Not so with Media, Markets, and Morals, by Spence, Alexandra, Quinn, and Dunn who, with the introduction of their original normative framework, provide a forward-looking, prescriptive approach to tackling contemporary ethical concerns by investigating the role of media as an end to making moral decisions. Within this framework, the role of media in society is one of information provider, which thus directs a particular role morality—defined as media’s own distinctive ethical demands, challenges, and temptations in its role as information provider. By using this defined role—morality of media as information provider—as the larger lens with which to arrive at moral decisions, the normative framework presented is both theoretically grounded and practically useful in its application to future ethical challenges.
The framework is especially helpful in its ability to apply to both traditional and newer forms of media, or forms that have yet to be introduced. No doubt, new media have ethical issues that are unique to their forms, but the authors reason that the role of all media is derived from the shared, fundamental driver of information, and therefore, all forms may be guided by a common framework of the media role morality. Stated differently, regardless of how the information is created, distributed and consumed, it is still information and therefore within the jurisdiction of the same broader role morality of media.
The central thesis of Media, Markets, and Morals is that we, as media practitioners, are agents of information and, as such, we are required to act truly, justly, and virtuously with regard to our informational practices and any moral duties that result. One weakness with this argument that the authors point out is that notions of right and good will not circumvent any confusion that stems from contextual nuances or the concepts and semantics of ethical consideration. Similarly, reasonable moral disagreement must be a consideration, for when we encounter situations where several positive solutions to an ethical problem are apparent, the judgment is left to us as individuals.
Media, Markets, and Morals is relevant, logically organized, and easy to finish. Following the introduction, the content flows into sections including “Surveying the Ethical Landscape.” “Navigating the Ethical Landscape,” and “A Sustainable Ethical Environment.” The text smoothly pivots between theory and practice in a way that builds reader knowledge of both areas in a robust and informed manner. For example, chapter 5 deals with the conflict of media roles between advertising, public relations, and journalism, and begins by outlining the specific role morality of each of these practices, which then acts as the conceptual filter the reader uses to consume the remainder of the chapter. Once that role morality is defined, the authors outline its specific ethical dilemmas, continuously revisiting the pre-defined role morality for guidance and direction on how to negotiate a particular ethical issue. This allows readers to observe the framework in use, while at the same time providing instruction on how to actually apply the theory to real-world circumstances we may face ourselves. Chapter 9 discusses media role models such as Edward R. Murrow and Veronica Guerin, outlining various ethical decisions they made which acted to solidify their moral fiber. Adding dimension to their suppositions and arguments, the authors call on other areas of ethical thought to ground the framework, including utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics, aiding in reader knowledge building by providing additional context for consideration
One of the book’s many strengths is how it draws attention to particular contemporary issues facing media practitioners today. The somewhat fleeting grip media as an institution has on the quality of news and its ethical ramifications is quite timely, illustrated by the challenge of the citizen journalism movement, where traditional training (including instruction on ethics), is absent. This loss of control is also demonstrated in the authors’ discussion of the endless cable news marathon to “break” a story first, where the diligence of fact-checking and source credibility might be sacrificed for an edge in the perpetual war for advertisers. Remaining in the same vein, another area of contemporary media ethics discussion covered in the text is the existence of media organizations within the commercial economy, where they, like every other business, are competing in a market. The nature of the competitive marketplace contradicts the inherent role morality of media to deliver accurate and true information even when the delivery of such information is profit-prohibitive. The authors contend that we should view the money-making functions of media organizations as means to the end of media: the accurate and truthful provision of information, and not as ends in themselves.
In my opinion, Media, Markets, and Morals holds tremendous value for students, scholars, and practitioners, primarily for its usefulness in four key areas. First of all, the book is extremely practical, outlining the theoretical underpinnings of its novel framework (in addition to other theories of ethics), and then applying this framework to specific roles of media, as well as through the use of cases, which are peppered throughout the text. Secondly, this application of the framework affords the book exceptional instructional qualities, demonstrating how we should go about applying the framework to our own particular dealings with media. Thirdly, the book is illuminating, as the authors address several contemporary ethical issues facing media practitioners, such as the moral questions of photo manipulation and the ethical implications of user-generated content. Finally, the introduction of the framework is a meaningful and significant contribution to scholarship on media ethics. The book is worth considering for inclusion in graduate courses on media ethics, for any communications researchers who are seeking to validate a novel framework, and for media practitioners who desire more formal guidance on how to arrive at ethical decisions in their day-to-day professional lives.
Ph.D. Candidate, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Wendy Wyatt & Kristie Bunton (eds.) (2012). The Ethics of Reality TV: A Philosophical Examination. (New York: Continuum). 224 pp., paperback, ISBN : 978-1441189035 $29.95.
Within the past two decades “reality” television has become an important network genre with strong ratings and legions of followers worldwide. Yet the research about the ethics ofreality TV has lagged behind that about ethical issues in other forms of TV programming such as news, situation comedies, advertising, movies, and sports.
Enter Wendy Wyatt and Kristie Bunton. They have assembled a wide spectrum of scholars from media studies, philosophy, English, applied ethics and beyond to contribute to their volume, The Ethics Of Reality TV, a book which takes reality television and popular culture quite seriously.
As the authors themselves assert, the text is notably international, although the contributors primarily work in English-speaking countries in the Northern Hemisphere. It is valuable to read essays which provide multi-cultural insights and which outline the wide scope of reality TV, not only by means of geography but also by an inventory of content.
A major pitfall the book avoids it that of assuming reality television is uniformly evil or similar. These seasoned scholars (alphabetically)—Mira Desai, Deni Elliott, Madeleine Esch, Janie Fritz, Christopher Meyers, Gareth Palmer, James Poniewazik, Edward Spence, Bastiaan Vanacker, and the co-authors—help us understand the wide wingspan and complexity of reality television, a genre surprisingly as diverse in subject matter as what seems to me to be its next-of-kin: documentary.
The many contributors bring to our attention the full range of ethical issues—privacy, stereotyping, commercialization, deception, and exploitation, among others—which reality television often features. Wyatt and Bunton have taken an important first step in filling a sizable hole in the literature of media ethics with this first systematic, international, and philosophical inspection of a key, if not dark, continent within the television landscape.
Robert S. Fortner & P. Mark Fackler (eds.) (2011) The Handbook of Global Communication and Media Ethics. (Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell). (2 volumes: vol. 1, xxi + 499 pp.; vol. 2, viii + 502 pp. with continuity of page and chapter numbering across both volumes). ISBN 978-1-4051-88-12-8. $400.00 (hardcover); $349.99 (e-book). (Index, chapter notes, chapter references, brief contributor biographies.)
This may well be the largest book in the field of media ethics, and it certainly is the most expensive. At its current price, like many of the Wiley “handbooks,” it is probably more suited for the library and the serious scholar than for the student as a textbook. This is unfortunate, because there is a lot in this book/these two volumes that anyone in the field would treasure.
There are 49 chapters (starting with “Primordial Issues in Communication Ethics” by Clifford G. Christians and running through to “The Ethics of a Very Public Sphere: Differential Soundscapes and the Discourse of the Streets” by Robert S. Fortner), by some 50 authors. Most of the names of these authors are familiar to those in the field, but there are several new names to keep an eye open for. Fewer than half of the 50 are based in the United States (and some of them have citizenship in other countries or studied there), which strongly validates the “global communication” part of the book’s title.
Because the book is so current—the chapters were written for this book, and are not merely reprints from journals and other sources—it might well serve as one of the proverbial “three books to take if one is being stranded on a tropical island” (the others being “Shipbuilding for Dummies” and Bowditch’s American Practical Navigator) if one is particularly interested in media ethics. This isn’t your “usual ethics book.”
The breath of coverage of the field—multiple media, multiple philosophical starting points, multiple economic and political systems, multiple ideas—in these volumes is impressive. The arguments between philosophical schools and professional standards are explored at length, by strong proponents of each point of view. It will be up to the reader to make connections between journalism, popular culture, and media practice in different media and different cultures; or identify the proponents of differing points of view (the chapter references will help); or make distinctions among such varied concepts as religion (including Islam), social (and other) responsibility, feminism, ideologies of many kinds, terrorism, disenfranchisement, censorship, psychological warfare—and guilt and reward.
At the price being asked by the publisher, it is unlikely that there will be many who will adopt it as textbook. But there are more who will want to have it on their own bookshelves (or those of their institution’s library)—and properly so, since there are few (if any) topics ignored, and many possibly unfamiliar ones brought out in the light of day for the benefit of us all.
Fast Media/Media Fast: How to Clear Your Mind and Invigorate Your Life in an Age of Media Overload (2011) by Thomas W. Cooper. Reviewed by Kenneth A. Harwood
Controversies in Media Ethics (3rd ed.) (2011) by A. David Gordon, John Michael Kittross, John C. Merrill, William Babcock & Michael Dorsher. Reviewed by Robert L. Hilliard.
Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media (4th ed.) (2011) by Fred Brown & SPJ Ethics Committee
Journalism Today: A Themed History (2011) by Jane L. Chapman & Nick Nuttall
Who Owns the Press? (2010) by Mary Jane Pardue
Columbia Journalism Review 50th Anniversary Issue
Spring 2012, Vol. 3, No. 2
Thomas W. Cooper (2011). Fast Media/Media Fast: How to Clear Your Mind and Invigorate Your Life in an Age of Media Overload. (Boulder, CO: Gaeta Press) xliv + 225 pp. ISBN 978-1-4520-8500-5 (paper cover), 978-1-4520-8500-2 (hard cover), ISBN 978-1-4520-8500-4 (electronic), $19.95 (paper cover).
Lean back, Jack. Be wary, Mary. A slower and saner world awaits you.
Michael Gaeta, acupuncturist and clinical nutritionist, wrote the foreword. He found "a more balanced and harmonious home and family life" by limiting his time with media.
John C. Merrill, Professor Emeritus of Journalism in University of Missouri, Columbia, in his preface pointed to "the wisdom of selectivity and moderation, rather than our normal tendency to overindulgence in media fare." Fast media "gives us information faster than we can digest it," he wrote.
Thomas W. Cooper in his acknowledgements mentioned his roles as co-publisher and editor of Media Ethics magazine. He is Professor of Visual and Media Arts in Emerson College.
He said in his introduction that in 1989 he took a month off from television, movies, radio, compact discs, newspapers, books, and magazines as a way to rediscover his identity. Then he began to help students and colleagues to experience various degrees of abstention. Stays on Easter Island (with its one television station), and among Old Order Amish (who prohibit electronic media), broadened his understandings of media fasts and media diets.
Part I describes the fast (no media) and the diet (some media), including benefits, purpose, background, and guidelines in chapter 1. The times before, during, and after experience itself are treated in chapter 2.
Part II is on learning from the fast. Chapter 3 sets firsthand living as the standard. Direct experience is fuller than experience through media. Chapter 4 argues that attention to media can and does become habitual. That habit tends to restrict individual freedom of thought, identity, emotion, perspective, and action. Kids seem less able than grown-ups to manage their uses of media. Chapter 5 concerns waste of human resources through too much attention to media.
Part III is devoted to group fasting. Fasting by a group, a family, or a class forms the center of chapter 6. Chapter 7 visits fasting among Amish and other Plain People. Chapter 8 shows the Kogi retreat from literacy, Dani interpretations of recorded images and sounds, and responses of others who were long without presence of media.
Part IV asks the reader to choose through chapter 9 a slower pace of living, and through chapter 10, a closer look at reality. Appendices on personal fasting and group fasting precede the index, a note about the author, and a list of other titles from Gaeta Press.
Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology in Princeton University, wrote Thinking, Fast and Slow to sum up a lifetime of research. Apparently when we think fast we skip a lot and depend upon emotion more than when we think slowly. Deliberate thinking seems more rational. Professor Kahneman’s book is on lists of best sellers. Perhaps a central message of his book and Professor Cooper’s share something: Slower might be better.
Kenneth A. Harwood
Adjunct Professor of Communication
University of California, Santa Barbara
A. David Gordon, John Michael Kittross, John C. Merrill, William Babcock & Michael Dorsher. (2011) Controversies in Media Ethics (3rd ed.). (New York and London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis). 580+xxv pp. ISBN 978-0-415-96332-9. $ 69.95. (paper). $ 175 (hardcover). (Glossary, index, bibliography. A companion Web site prepared by Michael Dorsher contains resources for both students and instructors, and is updated twice a year.)
Some years ago Garry Trudeau’s comic strip protagonist Mike Doonesbury was faced with an ethical dilemma. In his coveted job in an advertising agency he was assigned to develop a campaign to promote cigarette smoking directed to young people. He wrestled with his conscience. He could ultimately be responsible for luring tens of thousands (or more) to untimely deaths. On the other hand, implementing the ad campaign could mean a highly successful career—and income—for him. He wondered if it would be ethically all right for him to go ahead with the campaign if he donated $500 to the American Cancer Society.
I showed the cartoon panels to my college class in media writing, where we had been discussing the responsibility of writers. Many of the students intended to work on Madison Avenue. I told the students that someday—maybe frequently—they would find themselves in a comparable situation. What would they do? After unexpected considerable thought, half the class said that they would make the $500 contribution.
What hath our educational system wrought? The 3rd edition of Controversies in Media Ethics should be a required textbook in required ethics courses in every secondary and higher educational institution in the country.
Fourteen chapters by the authors (A. David Gordon, John Michael Kittross, John C. Merrill, William Babcock and Michael Dorsher), including contributions by John A. Armstrong, Peter J. Gade, Julianne H. Newton, Kim Sheehan, and Jane B. Singer, pose and argue over assumptions on a variety of ethical issues, including the First Amendment and media accountability, individual values and social pressures, gatekeepers, political “correctness,” ethical codes, new technologies, digital manipulation of content, ethics in the economic marketplace, media access, privacy, persuasion, advertising, infotainment and reality shows, and violence and sexuality. Each topic is presented as point-and-counterpoint, one contributor taking one side, another the opposite side, avoiding what in some books might result in an “agit prop” approach to the subject. For example, in one chapter Kittross argues that “violence and pornography, however regrettable, are merely reflections of the world,” and that outside pressures to control them would be a cure “worse than the disease.” In that same chapter Gordon argues that “there is far more violence in today’s mass media than is good for society and that violent content must somehow be controlled.” At the end of each chapter’s dueling presentations, John Merrill sums up and evaluates each of the presenter’s arguments, much as a debate judge might provide a detailed analysis of debaters’ positive and negative points.
A final chapter, number 15, presents short commentaries, mainly by Gordon and Kittross on what might be considered sub-topics, such as journalists’ arrogance, religion and the media, co-opting the media, and media independence. John Merrill sums up the book’s purpose in a postscript.
Few textbooks provide as broad or objective a view of their subjects as does this one. As the authors state in the Preface, “there are no ‘always correct’ answers to many of the questions or problems presented . . .” and that it is the responsibility of the reader—the student—to reach ethical conclusions. What comes through clearly, as a factor in all the topics covered, is the power of the media, its control over peoples’ minds and emotions and its determining impact on the world’s social and political existence.
Each chapter contains references and readings related to the specific controversial media topic. A 20-page overview of “Theoretical Foundations for Media Ethics” by John C. Merrill, an excellent 19-page glossary by John A. Armstrong, a 9-page bibliography, and an Index are included in this comprehensive volume.
Robert L. Hilliard
Fred Brown & SPJ Ethics Committee (2011, revised). Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media (4th ed.) (Portland, OR: Marion Street Press). xiv +311 pp. ISBN 978-1-933338-80-4. $49.95 (paper). (Appendices; Online sources & Bibliography; Index).
From the time the first version was published in 1993, the several editions of this casebook have served the journalistic profession well. The Society of Professional Journalists has never lost faith in the importance of journalistic ethics, and has continually revised, updated and distributed both its Code (which dates back to 1926, and before that to the ASNE “Canons of Journalism” adopted earlier in that decade). Producing four editions of a full-fledged book, in fewer than 20 years, is a similar achievement.
Originally written by Jay Black, Bob Steele and Ralph Barney, Journalism Ethics soon moved from being a reference in the newsroom to being a text in the classroom, with a commercial publisher. The copyright was reclaimed by SPJ in 2006, this new edition was financed by the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, and it currently is distributed by Marion Street Press and SPJ itself.
More than half the 50 cases discussed in this edition are new, having been researched and written by members of the SPJ Ethics Committee (Fred Brown, Gordon “Mac” McKerill, Elizabeth K. Hansen, Jerry Dunklee, Mike Farrell, Sara Stone, and Jane Kirtley) and others who are given credit in the book’s acknowledgments.
The organization of this 4th edition is similar to past versions: Part One deals with the principles of journalism ethics, and contains chapters on ethical thinking, the role of the journalist, codes of ethics, and law and ethics. Part Two contains the case studies that are the heart of the book. Each of the nine chapters in this part includes a “checklist” for use when faced by a particular kind of ethical question, followed by several (from three to eight) case studies—and a final section on “what the codes say.” The nitty-gritty subject matter of these case studies, each part of a single chapter, includes: accuracy and fairness, deception, minimizing harm, diversity, conflicts of interest, photojournalism, privacy, source-reporter relationships, and accountability.
The two appendices are focused on the SPJ Code, with the first dealing with “Ethics as a Dynamic Dialogue” and the basic tenets of the Code: seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable. The second appendix shows changes in the SPJ Code through the years.
Although the growth in new technologies, social media, and political, social, and economic interactions with mass media may make other texts more appropriate for use in a particular class, the content of Journalism Ethics: A Casebook of Professional Conduct for News Media continues to make it an essential reference for the classroom, the office, and the newsroom—regardless of medium or level of experience.
Jane L. Chapman & Nick Nuttall (2011). Journalism Today: A Themed History. (Malden, MA & Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell). xiv + 338 pp. ISBN 978-1-4051-7952-2. $44.95 (paper). (Chapter notes; Index; 20 Resumes; 26 FactFiles).
Most media histories are organized along chronological lines. This interesting textbook is not—and is much more stimulating as a result.
In addition to the many very brief resumes and short FactFiles on various topics (located so that they fit into an appropriate chapter; the table of contents lists each of them), this volume is organized into four main topics with a number of chapters in each: Part I: “Journalism and Democracy: A Sibling Rivalry?” (A Right to Know, The Road Not Taken, Digging the Dirt, Spinning a Good Yarn and Developing Community); Part II: “Technology, Work and Business: Is Journalism More Than Just a Job?” (Changing Roles in a Changing World, A New Journalism For A New Age, He Who Pays The Piper, A Power Worth Fighting For); Part III: “Ethics: A Matter of Judgment?” (Private and Confidential?, Fakes, Rakes, and ‘On the Take’); and Part IV: “Audience: Citizen Consumer or Consumer Citizen?” (Finding an Audience, How Audiences Rewrote the Script, Watching and Listening).
Unlike most history books, which look backward, this volume ends with a 16-page conclusion (Part V) subtitled “A Future History.” (This single chapter itself holds a warning title: “Paper Tigers?”). It reminds the reader to utilize the trends, principles and events discussed earlier in constructing a “where are we going?” conclusion whose four principles are scarily bulleted “Personalization,” “Globalization,” “Localization” and “Pauperization.”
Chapman, an academic headquartered in the U.K., who also has authored a standard history of the media (Comparative Media History: 1789 to the Present, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2005), is one of the few writers today who is able to make fluid connections between the media (particularly newspapers) in the United States and Great Britain and the policies that differentially affect them. Indeed, the extensive chapter notes contain citations to many important authors and works, from many backgrounds and points of view, that are unfamiliar to many scholars in one or another English-speaking country.
Naturally, Part III is bound to be of most interest to most readers of this magazine. However, although some of the usual suspects are identified, the authors’ ability to use events and other examples to construct and describe principles is particularly valuable. Rather than give details of the two chapters in this Part, let me repeat the two quotations/aphorisms that start Part III: “One journalist to another: ‘If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event . . . what kind of film would you use?’” and “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.” (Thomas Paine). If those two quotations don’t make the readers of Media Ethics want to read the entire Part (or the entire book), I don’t know what will!
Mary Jane Pardue (2010). Who Owns the Press?: Investigating Public vs. Private Ownership of America’s Newspapers. (Portland, OR: Marion Street Press). xiv+161 pp. ISBN 978-1-933338-30-9. $24.95 (paper). (Bibliography; Index).
This short volume, based on the author’s thesis, is bound to be particularly useful to those who believe that the ownership of a newspaper (or other media outlet) frequently determines the validity of its formal and informal codes of ethics, and how closely they are followed.
The book is divided into two major parts. Part One contains short (unfortunately, discouraging) chapters on the family newspaper economic ownership model and a quantitative comparison of independent and group-owned papers. Part Two is the distillation of data and ideas gleaned from extensive interviews of members of the staffs of eight independent daily newspapers around the country: the (Little Rock) Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Anniston (AL) Star, The (Spokane, WA) Spokesman-Review, The (Eugene, OR) Register-Guard, the Concord (NH) Monitor, the Daily Hampshire (MA) Gazette, the Tulsa (OK) World, and The Gazette in Cedar Rapids (IA).
Although the data in Parts One and Two will be valuable to those in search of quantitative and qualitative data who must closely tie their studies of mass media ethics to the current structure of the industries involved, the five-page “Final Word” at the end supplies the reader with more than data. Whether or not one agrees with Prof. Pardue’s conclusions, they are succinct and well worth reading—summarizing as they do the positives and the negatives, the question of why we should care, and a 17 bullet-pointed list of “What Family Newspaper Owners Need to Do.”
Columbia Journalism Review Celebrates its 50th Anniversary
Columbia Journalism Review, November-December 2011, $6.99 (cover price for this issue). CJR, Journalism Building, 2950 Broadway, Columbia University, New York, NY 20027.
As one of the fortunate few who has read CJR ever since its “preview issue” a half century ago, I’m a fan. I consider it “must” reading, although I confess that I turn first to the “Darts and Laurels” page, and next to “The Lower Case.” It has led the way for the few other “journalism reviews” that now exist and, arguably, has led to more fruitful discussions than any other publication in the field.
The 160+ pages of the CJR Special Anniversary Issue should be read, not merely written about. True, a substantial number of pages consist of congratulatory ads, but the real content, from the contents page (e.g., “Despite being, at times, on death’s doorstep, CJR has stubbornly survived seven deans [of the Columbia University School of Journalism], disappearing donors, economic turmoil, and a proliferation of competitors…”) to the best-of-the-best examples of typos, misspellings, and other “ow-ies” in “The Lower Case” at the end of the issue (e.g., “Dr. Ruth Talks About Sex With Newspaper Editors” and “Florida reporter completes sentence”) it should be shelved with the “books to read for fun and long-term value ” rather than considered to be merely another example of the ephemera of the typical magazine issue.
True, there is only one page-filling “Dart,” but it consists of a thoughtful review of the past 50 years of both Darts and Laurels. And then comes the good stuff that will contribute to editorials, special issues of other publications, term papers, dissertations and memoirs for many years to come: A special “Hard Numbers” section showing the decade-by-decade evolution of many markers, a page discussing changes in our professional jargon, and a 10-page “TimeLine” of journalistic development over the past half-century. And finally, the real meat: 14 pages of Magnum photographs that made a difference, an enormous and thought-provoking article by Michael Shapiro about the San Jose Mercury News (“The Newspaper that Almost Seized the Future”), and some 32 pages of “The Reporter’s Voice,” in which a number of top “reporters talk about what they do, how they do it, and why.”
Neither CJR nor this reviewer advocate that the reader only should look to the past and the present, although the three-full-pages masthead identifying (in red ink) both those who are currently holding a post as well as those who no longer serve in it, goes a long way toward making it easy to understand that CJR has evolved rather than revolved and has followed the compass of its first issue. The future, though, isn’t being ignored: Toward the back of this 50th Anniversary Issue are several forward-gazing essays, on topics ranging from funding to bibliography, that are like the whipped cream on a birthday cake. Eat heartily!