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Media Ethics at Work
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Media Ethics at Work
True Stories from Young Professionals

Second Edition
Edited by:


September 2016 | 392 pages | CQ Press

A fresh approach to building integrity in all media


Media Ethics at Work: True Stories from Young Professionals
transforms students into confident, self-reliant, and ethical decision makers, prepared to resolve moral dilemmas from day one of their first media job or internship. The highly anticipated Second Edition of this text continues to engage students with true stories of young professionals working in today’s multimedia news and strategic communications organizations, helping readers create meaningful connections to real-world applications. Each story is presented as a narrative, so students can work through the ethical dilemmas as they unfold, encouraging readers to think about and ask the question: “What would I do if this happened to me?” By creating a more personalized experience for students beginning their first entry-level media jobs or internship, this book helps readers develop their own ethical standards and apply in the workplace what they have learned.


 
ABOUT THE EDITORS
 
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS
 
PREFACE
 
INTRODUCTION
 
SECTION I- FOUNDATIONS
Lee Anne Peck
1. TOOLS FOR ETHICAL DECISION MAKING
Terms to Know

 
Codes for the Media Professions

 
Philosophical Theories

 
Socrates

 
Plato

 
Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics

 
Kant’s Duty-Based Ethics

 
Utilitarianism and J. S. Mill’s Principle of Utility

 
Ross’ Prima Facie and Actual Duties

 
John Rawls’ Veil of Ignorance

 
Sissela Bok’s Test of Publicity

 
An Ethics of Care

 
Ethical Decision Making and Religion

 
Concluding Thoughts

 
Bibliography

 
Deni Elliott
2. THE MORALLY DEVELOPED MEDIA PROFESSIONAL
Moral Development in Theory

 
Who’s Who in Moral Development Theory

 
The Early Stage of Moral Development

 
The Conventional Stage of Moral Development

 
The Later Stage of Moral Development

 
Moral Development in Practice

 
One Young Reporter’s Wake-Up Call

 
The Moral Development Perspective

 
Becoming a Media Professional

 
Resolving Sara’s Dilemma

 
Exercise Your Own Moral Development

 
Bibliography

 
 
SECTION II- HONESTY
Donica Mensing
3. CONFRONTING OTHERS’ VIOLATIONS: THE CASE OF THE MANIPULATED PHOTO
Moral Development in Theory

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: The Potter Box

 
The Challenge: Speak Up or Stay Silent?

 
The Response: Seeking Counsel

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: NPPA Ethics Code

 
The Aftermath: Professional Standards Defended

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Lucinda Austin
4. POLITICAL ESPIONAGE OR POLITICS AS USUAL? THE CASE OF POLITICAL CAMPAIGN TACTICS
The Situation: A High-Profile Political Campaign

 
The Challenge: Misrepresentation and Diversion

 
The Response: Sticking to “My Moral Compass”

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: PRSA’s Code of Ethics

 
The Aftermath: Politically Aware

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Nancy Furlow
5. FOCUS GROUP DILEMMA: THE CASE OF THE COMPROMISED TAGLINE
The Situation: Rebranding a Nonprofit

 
The Challenge: The Boss Is Manipulating the Campaign

 
The Response: Silence Becomes Dread

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Two Codes of Marketing Research Standards

 
The Aftermath: Learning How to Speak Up

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Richard D. Waters
6. OMG! THIS BAND IS SOOO GR8! THE CASE OF THE PHONY TEENAGER
The Situation: “You Want Me to Do What?”

 
The Challenge: Serving the Client While Staying Honest

 
The Response: Refusing to Lie

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: The Potter Box and the Navran Model

 
The Aftermath: Honor Upheld, Business Lost

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Ray Niekamp
7. IDENTIFYING SUSPECTS: THE CASE OF THE WACO SHOOTING
The Situation: Motorcycle Gangs, Police with Guns and a Shootout

 
The Challenge: To Report the Names—or Not?

 
The Response: Use the Names

 
The Aftermath: When Competitive Pressures Drive Newsroom Decisions

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Minimize Harm

 
Thinking It Through

 
Now Try This

 
George L. Daniels
8. SOLO JUDGMENT CALLS: THE CASE OF THE ONE-PERSON “TV CREW”
The Situation: A Tornado and Its Aftermath

 
The Challenge: To Re-create or Not to Re-create

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Using File Footage and VNRs

 
The Response: Reality, with a Tweak

 
The Aftermath: More Stories, More Lessons

 
Thinking It Through

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Guidelines for Ethical Video and Audio Editing

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Joe Mirando
9. SEEKING ANSWERS FOR STUDENTS: THE CASE OF THE UNDERCOVER REPORTER
The Situation: Inconsistent Rules on Transfer Credit

 
The Challenge: Gathering Information from Difficult Sources

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Rules of Engagement for Deception

 
The Response: Pretending to Be Someone Else

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Mill and Avoiding Rationalization

 
The Aftermath: Publication and Policy Changes

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
John H. Kennedy, Vinny Vella
10. PRIOR RESTRAINT: THE CASE OF “SEE BELOW THE FOLD”
The Situation: Classroom Encounters of an Unusual Kind

 
The Challenge: Journalists or Not Journalists?

 
The Response: What Should They Do Now?

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Seeking Truth and (Some) Independence

 
The Aftermath: “Part of Something Greater”

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Cailin Brown
11. FACE TO FACE WITH THE FACTS: THE CASE OF THE DISAGREEING SOURCES
The Situation: Drowning in Facts

 
The Challenge: Include Everything or Just Some Things?

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: SPJ’s Mandate to Minimize Harm and Sissela Bok’s Test

 
The Response: What Should I Do?

 
The Aftermath: Readers Respond

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: The Veil of Ignorance

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
 
SECTION III- SENSITIVITY
Frances Parrish, Guy S. Reel
12. SENSITIVITY AND SOCIAL MEDIA: THE CASE OF THE STUDENT DEATH
The Situation: Crowdsourcing a Death

 
The Challenge: How to Report a Cause of Death

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Using Facebook and Other Social Networking Sites

 
The Response: Getting the Stories

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Carol Gilligan’s Ethics of Care

 
The Aftermath: Taking Professional Action

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Using Social Media

 
Thinking It Through

 
Go Online for More

 
What If

 
David R. Davies, Cassie Rodenberg
13. THE CASE OF ETHICS IN IMMERSION JOURNALISM: THE WHITE NOISE
The Situation: “Why Are You Writing About This?”

 
The Challenge: Balancing Ethics and Protecting Sources

 
The Response: Giving Voice to Those Seldom Heard

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Carol Gilligan’s Ethics of Care

 
The Aftermath: “Just Talk to People”

 
Thinking it Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Nathaniel Frederick II, Aimee Pavia Meader
14. WHEN PRIVACY OUTWEIGHS THE PUBLIC’S RIGHT TO KNOW: THE CASE OF THE RAPE VICTIM
The Situation: “This Isn’t the Average Murder”

 
The Challenge: “Concealing Isn’t Enough”

 
The Response: Leaving Out Details

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: W. D. Ross

 
The Aftermath: Handling Future Coverage

 
Thinking It Through

 
Go Online for More

 
Daniel Reimold
15. FREE SPEECH, OFFICIAL PRESSURE: THE CASE OF THE VISITING FOREIGN STUDENT
The Situation: “American Culture, with a Minnesotan Twist”

 
The Challenge: “Bold Statements, Straightforward Views”

 
The Response: Story’s Up, But Government Wants It Down

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: SPJ Code of Ethics

 
The Aftermath: “No Longer Written in Stone”

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Giselle A. Auger
16. SINS OF OMISSION: THE CASE OF THE NOT-SO-FREE PET PARTY
The Situation: Come to Our First Barking Barbecue!

 
The Challenge: Follow Orders or Serve the Truth?

 
The Response: Reality Meets Promotion

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Provisions of Conduct in the PRSA Ethics Code

 
The Aftermath: Communication Is a Management Function

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Ray Niekamp
17. PLEASE DON’T USE THE VIDEO: THE CASE OF THE FATAL ACCIDENT
The Situation: A Soldier, a Girl, Alcohol and a Red Light

 
The Challenge: “Can You Please Not Use the Video?”

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Telling Truth Versus Doing Harm

 
The Response: Run the Whole Thing

 
The Aftermath: No Second Thoughts

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Michael O’Donnell
18. SOURCE REMORSE: THE CASE OF THE REQUESTS TO “UNPUBLISH”
The Situation: “I’m Afraid My Employer Will Google My Name and See My Story”

 
The Challenge: Small Paper, Big Audience

 
The Response: Trying to Dodge the Search Engines

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Clifford G. Christians on Privacy and Morality

 
The Aftermath: More Requests, New Standards

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Questions to Guide “Unpublishing” Decisions

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
 
SECTION IV- BALANCE
Lois A. Boynton, Adam Rhew
19. FRIEND OF THE VICTIM: THE CASE OF THE MURDERED STUDENT
The Situation: Student Body President Found Murdered

 
The Challenge: Handling Emotion, Getting It Right

 
The Response: “I Stood My Ground”

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: The Philosophies of William Ross and Sissela Bok

 
The Aftermath: Reflecting on Dual Roles

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Kathy K. Previs
20. WHEN ETHICAL COMPASSES COLLIDE: THE CASE OF FOLLOWING ONE’S CONSCIENCE
The Situation: Facilitating Communication with the Public

 
The Challenge: Maintaining Neutrality

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: The PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values

 
The Response: Consulting Codes of Ethics

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Considering Your Options

 
The Aftermath: Compromises May Be Made

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Kelly Scott Raisley
21. YOU SENT ME WHAT?! THE CASE OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT AN INTERNSHIP
The Situation: Questionable Requests from a Supervisor

 
The Challenge: What to Do?

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: The Doctrine of the Mean and the Categorical Imperative

 
The Response: Leaving the Internship

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Dealing with Sexual Harassment or Sexism at Work

 
The Aftermath: Looking Forward to Their Careers

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Ray Niekamp
22. ADVERTISER PRESSURE: THE CASE OF THE SCHOOL LUNCHES
The Situation: A Complaint About School Lunches

 
The Challenge: Advertiser Pressure

 
The Response: “I Was Shocked and Confused”

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Act Independently

 
The Aftermath: Self-Censorship

 
Thinking It Through

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: RTDNA Guidelines for Balancing Business Pressure and Journalistic Values

 
Now Try This

 
Go Online for More

 
Gary Ritzenthaler
23. JOURNALISTS’ JUDGMENTS VERSUS AUDIENCE CLICKS: THE CASE OF WEB ANALYTICS’ INFLUENCE
The Situation: When Is a Big Story Not a Top Story?

 
The Challenge: Who Decides What’s News?

 
The Response: “A Missed Opportunity”

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: W. D. ROSS and Choosing Between Competing Duties

 
The Aftermath: More Analytics, More Options and Questions

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Jan Leach
24. ARE PUBLIC OFFICIALS ALWAYS ON THE RECORD? THE CASE OF THE COUNCILOR’S BLOG
The Situation: A City Councilor Speaks Out

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Tips for Using Blog Posts in News Coverage

 
The Challenge: Are Blog Posts Newsworthy Quotes?

 
The Response: Run It and Wonder

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Day’s SAD Decision-Making Model

 
The Aftermath: Blogs Go Mainstream

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
K. Tim Wulfemeyer
25. ON THE RECORD OR OFF? THE CASE OF THE CRANKY PROFESSOR
The Situation: Late Professor, Angry Students

 
The Challenge: “I Retract All My Comments”

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Combining Codes and Theory

 
The Response: Weigh the Options and Choose

 
The Aftermath: Institutional and Individual Impact

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Beth E. Concepción
26. GIVING VOICE TO THE VOICELESS: THE CASE OF TELLING THE STORY OF THE OTHER
The Situation: A New Project Causes Unexpected Concerns

 
The Challenge: “Who Am I to Tell This Story?”

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: Rawls’ Social Contract View of Justice

 
The Response: Seeking Counsel

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: Following the SPJ Code of Ethics

 
The Aftermath: “Everything Is Storytelling”

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
Scott R. Hamula
27. ALONG CAME A BETTER OFFER: TWO CASES OF JOB-HUNTING ETHICS
The Situation: “I Got the Job, but . . .”

 
The Challenge: Dealing with Second Thoughts

 
TOOL FOR THOUGHT: The Millennial Generation

 
The Response: Making a Quick Switch

 
TOOL FOR ACTION: The Benjamin Franklin Balance Sheet

 
The Aftermath: Two Approaches, Two Results

 
Thinking It Through

 
What If?

 
Go Online for More

 
 
APPENDIX- LINKS TO ETHICS CODES
 
INDEX
Key features

NEW TO THIS EDITION

  • New cases and new examples address the most pressing ethical issues for today's media professional.
  • Many chapters include a stronger emphasis on new media to ensure readers are familiar with the most current channels used by today’s media professionals and the ethical issues these new channels present. For instance, new chapters include the following:
    • A new chapter titled “When Ethical Compasses Collide” addresses the problem of following one's personal beliefs when those may conflict with the positions of his or her employer
    • A new chapter titled “Advertiser Pressure” explores the influence of advertisers over news content and major ethical problems media professionals face.
  • New material on political campaign tactics examines the collision between politics and ethical practices.

KEY FEATURES

Within most chapters, readers will find the following:

  • 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

Preview this book

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 4

Chapter 7


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