Media Ethics at Work

Media Ethics at Work
True Stories from Young Professionals

Media Ethics

© 2013 | 344 pages | CQ Press
Media ethics books today tend to examine the dilemmas faced by seasoned media managers and ignore situations likely to be faced by young adults as they enter the media workforce. Peck and Reel believe that students will show more interest and see more relevance in case studies involving their peers, as opposed to those experienced only by senior professionals.

Here are the kinds of ethical dilemmas that confront early career professionals working in media:
  • Your boss at a P.R. firm wants you to promote a hip-hop act by going online pretending to be a teenager.
  • A graduate of your university wants you to remove an old story from the student newspaper's online archive because it's hurting her job prospects.
  • A bar owner says he might finally buy an ad in your publication if you'll just come back tonight and hang out at the bar.

Students may not recognize the ethical implications of a situation at work. Even if they do, and even if their intentions are good, they may not know how to reason through the problem, or what options exist beyond their gut reaction, or where to go for advice from their lowly position in the organization.

Media Ethics at Work: True Stories from Young Professionals helps students assemble a tool kit for dealing with ethical issues on the job. At the heart of the book are 23 cases, true stories of problems encountered by young professionals working in news, advertising and public relations. Each story is presented as a narrative so readers can ponder: "What would I do if this happened to me?" Introductory material provides a foundation in philosophical theory and moral reasoning, so by the time they've finished the book, students will feel prepared with an array of theoretical and practical approaches that will equip them with strategies for thinking on their feet.

Other ethics books focus on the big-name, high-level cases that make news – and hurt media credibility. Media Ethics at Work takes a fresh, new approach, aiming to build integrity in a time of media change through the small and large ethical decisions that entry-level media professionals make every day.

Nancy Furlow
Focus Group Dilemma: The Case of the Compromised Tagline
Vinny Vella
First-person Ethics: I Fought the Dean and the Dean Lost
Joe Mirando
Seeking Answers for Students: The Case of the Undercover Reporter
Mary C. Curtis
First-person Ethics: The Thin Line between Reporting and Commentary
K. Tim Wulfemeyer
On the Record or Off? The Case of the Cranky Professor
Louis A. Boynton, Adam W. Rhew
Friend of the Victim: The Case of the Murdered Student
Giselle A. Auger
Sins of Omission: The Case of the Not-so-free Pet Party
Jane Dvorak
First-Person Ethics: How Good PR can Follow Bad Reporting
Jan Leach
Are Public Officials Always on the Record? The Case of the Councilor's Blog
Ray Niekamp
Please Don't Use the Video: The Case of the Fatal Accident
Ray Niekamp
Losing Balance:The Case of the Anchor Blogger
Brooke Burton-Lüttman, Leah Greenstein
First-person Ethics: Bloggers, State Your Standards
Daniel Reimold
Free Speech, Official Pressure: The Case of the Visiting Foreign Student
Glen Feighery
Contacting the Family of a Killer: The Case of the Sensitive Reporter
George L. Daniels
Solo Judgment Calls: The Case of the One-Person "TV Crew"
Scott R. Hamula
Along Came a Better Offer: Two Cases of Job-Hunting Ethics
Donica Mensing
Confronting Another's Violations: The Case of the Manipulated Photo
Jaqueline Lambiase
Real Estate Boasting: The Case of the False Figures
John B. Zibluk
First-person Ethics: My Groundhog Day
Michael O'Donnell
Source Remorse: The Case of Requests to 'Unpublish'
David Boraks
First-person Ethics: Managing the Ethics of Online Local News
Richard D. Waters
OMG! This Band is So GR8! The Case of the Phony Teenager
Ron Boyle
No PR picnic: The Case of the Disengaged Alumni
David A. Neuman
First-Person Ethics: Why We Stayed Silent about a Kidnapping
Kelly S. Kennedy
First-Person Ethics: Cautions for Journalists Who Tweet
Deni Elliott
The Morally Developed Media Professional
Rick Kenney
Desensitized to Violence: The Case of the Newsroom Reality Check
George L. Daniels
First-person Ethics: To Remove or Not to Remove: The YouTube Question
Barbara Reed, Dab Bracaglia
Hard Questions, Big Backlash: The Case of the Train-Track Death
Anna Douglas
First-person Ethics: FOI as an Ethical Tool for Student Media
Gary Ritzenthaler
Journalists' Judgments vs. Audience Clicks: The Case of Web Analytics' Influence
Donica Mensing
The Importance of Fact-Checking: The Case of the Self-plagiarist
Larry C. Timbs
First Person Ethics: Why Not Show a Source Your Story?

“I feel strongly that the proximity of the experiences to the challenges faced by student journalists and rookies will cause my students to take the cases more seriously and spark critical thinking. My students would enjoy this book. They would like the fact that the cases were relevant to them. I thought the questions within each chapter would be very helpful to class discussions.”

Kevin Stoker
Texas Tech University

“I think the book’s use of situations faced by young media professionals in their early years of employment is a terrific idea and I like its mix of cases that concern journalists, advertising and public relations professionals I was impressed with how seamlessly the chapters, though written by various authors, fit together. I was especially pleased to see chapters on such issues as Web analytics, use of social media, blogs and sources, and removal of materials from websites. These are increasingly important issues for our students.”

Lorna Veraldi
Florida International University

“The book will be extremely useful in helping students confront ethical situations initially, and then think through them with a higher level of moral reasoning. I believe students would find this book very readable and engaging. At times, I could not put the book down until I finished reading a case. The authors built up a sense of suspense in how the case is resolved in many of the chapters. I think students will see themselves facing similar situations and also be spellbound.”

Shannon A. Bowen
University of South Carolina

“The overall concept of the text is appealing because students will relate to the experiences of recent graduates and they’ll enjoy the storytelling quality of the narratives and the relative brevity of each case. Chapter authors do a good job delineating questions students should consider as they’re grappling with the issues raised. It offers a good combination of practical tips and theoretical models to help guide thinking.”

Pam Fine
Knight Chair in News, Leadership and Community, University of Kansas

“Very impressive collection, nicely written, well edited, and very timely. Its greatest strength is the case selection. They’re not the often-told instances of major wrongdoing; instead, they are precisely the kind of low-bore ethical challenges young journalists are most likely to actually confront. The work is very readable and surprisingly uniform in tone and style. It hits the right balance of gravitas and readability.”

Edward Wasserman
Knight Professor of Journalism Ethics, Washington and Lee University
Key features
Within each case, readers will find:

  • Tool for Thought—how a theory or professional ethics code clarifies the case's central ethical issue.
  • Tool for Action—practical how-to tips.
  • Thinking it Through—discussion questions.
  • What If?—an alternative scenario for students to think through.
  • Go Online for More—web resources for further information.
  • First-Person Ethics—chapter interludes in which experienced media professionals detail a specific ethical challenge and how they dealt with it.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction and Preface

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ISBN: 9781452227849