Table of Contents, Spring 2022

BY EDWARD WASSERMAN

OneSideProFoto / Shutterstock.comOneSideProFoto / Shutterstock.comModernizing defamation protections for the digital age will require revisiting Times vs. Sullivan’s burden of proof, which is imposed on the very people most likely to be libeled; and obligating social media companies to police their operations to minimize reputational damage.      

BY KENDALL R. PHILLIPS

Stefano Pollio / UnsplashStefano Pollio / UnsplashHorror films often portray violence and victimization, which raises ethical problems around what gets treated as entertainment. However, there might also be potential social benefits when these narratives invite serious reflection on social norms and practices.

BY COURTNEY PERKINS

Markus Spiske / UnsplashMarkus Spiske / UnsplashGiven that reporting on climate change has had limited effect on public opinion, what can journalists improve to better inform their audiences? Must journalists reimagine the concepts of balance, objectivity, and fairness in environmental reporting?

BY HAILEY WAMMACK, KAT WILLIAMS, & SCOTT R. STROUD

lev radin / Shutterstock.comlev radin / Shutterstock.comSmartphone geo-tracking is typically harnessed for advertising purposes, but it can also be used by law enforcement to surveil. Is this practice an invasion of privacy or does it make society safer? 

BY CLAIRE COBURN AND JAMIE JELINEK

cottonbro from Pexelscottonbro from PexelsTikTok posters have uploaded video of themselves acting as if they are getting arrested. Critics charge that the videos are romanticizing arrest and trivializing police brutality. At what point does online content go beyond the merely offensive, such that platforms have an ethical obligation to curtail it?

BY KAT WILLIAMS

MIT PressMIT PressA Review of #HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice by Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles.

Media Ethics is grateful to its sponsors identified below, who are neither responsible for nor in control of our content.

The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, has a longstanding commitment to nurturing principled newsgathering and storytelling, guided by a strong dedication to public illumination and civic betterment. Its two-year, immersive master of journalism curriculum includes instruction in professional ethics led by professor and former dean Tom Goldstein and current dean and journalism professor Edward Wasserman, formerly Knight chair in journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University.

The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law is a research center located within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Its primary mission is to conduct research on, and promote understanding of, legal and ethical issues affecting the mass media. The Silha Center also sponsors an annual lecture series; hosts forums, conferences and symposia; produces the Silha Bulletin, a quarterly newsletter, and other publications; and provides information about media law and ethics to the public. Support is provided for faculty research, and for Silha Fellows working on advanced degrees.

The Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign The Institute offers a Ph.D. in communications within the traditions of social scientific research, historic-cultural interpretation, linguistics, and political economy. Its B.S. degree in Media Studies is rooted in the liberal arts. The Institute develops intellectually productive approaches to cultural, political, ethical and social challenges of the global communications economy. Public service and social responsibility are emphasized in the curriculum and research projects. Work in ethics is required of undergraduates and doctoral dissertations in communication ethics are an option.

  • Contact: Clifford Christians, Director, Institute of Communications Research, College of Communications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 810 S. Wright St., Suite 228, Urbana, IL 61801; Telephone: 217.333.1549; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Website: Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Facultad de Comunicación, Universidad de Navarra/The School of Public Communication, University of Navarra, offered the first Spanish academic degree in journalism starting in 1958. Since that time, it has offered both graduate and undergraduate degrees in three different sequences: Advertising, Radio, Film and Television, and Journalism. Each sequence includes specific courses involving media ethics.

  • Contact: José J. Sánchez-Aranda, Facultad de Comunicación, Universidad de Navarra, Pamploma, España; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Website: The School of Public Communication, University of Navarra 

Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication is a research center at The Pennsylvania State University College of Communications dedicated to the study and advancement of ethics and responsibility in corporate communication. The Center has awarded over $320,000 to scholars and professionals to support research about ethics and responsibility in public communication.

Contact: Director, Denise Sevick Bortree, The Arthur W. Page Center, 201 Carnegie Building, University Park, PA 16802; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Telephone: 814.863.6307.

Kegley Institute of Ethics The Kegley Institute of Ethics is committed to stimulating ethical thought and reflection on the California State University, Bakersfield campus and in our greater community. We host major lectures, panels and workshops, and we sponsor scholarships and research for faculty and students.

  • Contact: Michael D. Burroughs, Ph.D., Director, Kegley Institute of Ethics, 26 BDC, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, CA 93311; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Telephone: 661-654-3578
  • Website: Kegley Institute of Ethics

Endicott College School of Communications Endicott College strives to instill in students an understanding of and an appreciation for professional and liberal studies through coursework andnapplied learning.  The College has a vision for the total development of the individual within a community that fosters an appreciation of diversity, international awareness, community service, and moral and ethical values. For further information see Web Site.

Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Duquesne University Duquesne University's Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies teaches and conducts research and development in the broad domain of communication studies, including integrated marketing communication, public relations and advertising, corporate communication, intercultural communication, communication ethics, rhetoric, and persuasion in the marketplace. Our departmental foundations are communication ethics, a humanities approach to the discipline, a research and development culture, and ongoing practical engagement with the marketplace.

  • Contact: Janie Harden Fritz (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Alyssa Groom (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Telephone: 412.396.6446. Mailing address: Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Duquesne University, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15282.
  • Website: Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Duquesne University  

SPECIAL THANKS

In addition to the intellectual contributions of our authors, and the financial contributions of our sponsors, Media Ethics would like to express its particular gratitude to:

Bob Gardner, film-maker, scholar, and benefactor, passed away in 2014.  But his support of Media Ethics continues, since his latest gift was dedicated to the five-year period 2012-2017, an act of generosity we truly appreciate.

Our hosts at the Institute of Communications Research of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, the past publishers of the magazine, are to be thanked. The current publisher of Media Ethics, the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and its Center for Media Engagement, are also to be thanked for their gracious support of the magazine’s present and future mission.

These “special thanks” shouldn't be thought of as detracting from our appreciation for The Grand Masonic Lodge of Massachusetts, particularly Grand Secretary Arthur Johnson, Grand Master Roger Pageau, and Assistant Grand Treasurer Craig MacPherson for providing the space and other facilities that enable the Media Ethics office to function.

We also want to give thanks and recognition for the significant support of the following individuals and groups: Randy Bytwerk, Mark Fackler, the Dept. of Communications at Calvin College, Jochen Zeitz, and anonymous individuals. The voluntary donations of each of these friends is extremely important to us.

EDITOR  
Scott R. Stroud  
   
EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER  
Moody College of Communication/UT Austin  
   
REVIEWS/EVENTS EDITOR
 
Tom Cooper  
   
ADVISORY BOARD  
Anantha S. Babbili Jane E. Kirtley
Ralph Barney Christopher Meyers
Michael D. Burroughs Grafton Nunes
Marvin Kalb Jennifer Pozner
Richard Keeble Lance Strate
Jean Kilbourne Edward Wasserman
Clifford G. Christians  
   
FORMER STAFF  
Mike Kittross (Editor, 1996-2018)  
Eric Elbot (Co-editor, 1990-1996)  
Manny Paraschos (Publisher)  
   
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS  
Jay Black Kenneth A. Harwood
Tom Brislin Robert Hilliard
Amy M. Damico Jerry Lanson
Deni Elliott Kaarle Nordenstreng
A. David Gordon Jeffrey L. Seglin
Gary Grossman Jane B. Singer
   
EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS  
Kat Williams  
Justin Pehoski   
   
DESIGN  
Mary-Lynne Bohn, Accent Design, Inc.  
   
WEB DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE  
Joe Higgins  |  Silver Oak Design | Spring 2022  
   

Call for Manuscripts

Media Ethics welcomes submissions for publication in its forthcoming issues. Published online twice a year, Media Ethics is an independent, open-access, scholarly forum for the sharing of research and views on current topics in media ethics. Media Ethics takes a purposely broad and pluralistic view of media ethics, encompassing topics in journalism ethics, advertising ethics, digital ethics, computer ethics, organizational communication ethics, entertainment ethics, film ethics, as well as communication ethics in general. We also welcome submissions that explore ethical issues in an international context, or from the vantage point of other disciplines such as philosophy or technology studies. Media Ethics is interested in encouraging and sharing scholarly work on any important normative topic in communication or media. 

Media Ethics is a scholarly publication that was established in 1987 by Cliff Christians, Tom Cooper, Manny Paraschos, and Mike Kittross. It probes ethical issues in media, journalism, and communication ethics. It features creative and innovative pieces that showcase current scholarship or that analyze recent events, or shorter pieces that allow scholars to promptly voice their opinions on important topics in the current media environment. Media Ethics welcomes the submission of long and concise articles, book reviews, teaching commentaries, and case studies for possible publication. Media Ethics is published by the Moody College of Communication and the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin under the editorship of Dr. Scott R. Stroud.

Scholars are encouraged to submit long articles (up to 10,000 words) or short commentary pieces (750+ words) for consideration. All submitted manuscripts are subject to editing at the discretion of the editor, and publication is not guaranteed. Because of our editorial policies of independence and inclusion, neither the sponsors nor the editor shall be held responsible for any views expressed in Media Ethics by authors or others. All manuscripts, book reviews, case studies, and teaching pieces should be submitted via email to:

Dr. Scott R. Stroud, Media Ethics Editor

Department of Communication Studies

University of Texas at Austin

sstroud [at] austin.utexas.edu

Submissions will be considered at any time.

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Upcoming and past meetings, events, lectures, resources, and seminars related to media ethics are shared here. The announcements that follow are based on information supplied by the organizations involved or other sponsors. If you wish to have announcements of future meetings published in Media Ethics, please contact the editor at sstroud(at)austin.utexas.edu.