Ethics for Journalists/Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice

By Wilson, Sherrie L. | Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Ethics for Journalists/Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice


Wilson, Sherrie L., Journalism & Mass Communication Educator


* Keeble, Richard (2009). Ethics for Journalists (2d ed.). New York: Routledge, pp. 326.

* Plaisance, Patrick Lee (2009). Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 255.

Ethics for fournalists and Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice both address familiar media ethics issues, such as invasion of privacy, but take widely varied approaches to the topics. Ethics for fournalists deals primarily with British media and provides extended discussion on a range of issues - from journalists' relationships with sources to portrayals of race and gender in the media to coverage of war. Media Ethics focuses on the theoretical underpinnings of six ethical principles but also includes examples of real-life situations where these principles can be applied. In addition, Media Ethics includes examples from public relations and advertising, as well as journalism, with a special focus on ethics in cyberspace.

The purpose of the second edition of Ethics for Journalists, says author Richard Keeble of the U.K.'s University of Lincoln, remains the same as for the first edition: "the basic roles of the journalist are to promote peace and understanding, to work with honesty, clarity and compassion; to give voice to the voiceless, the desperately poor, the oppressed; to challenge stereotyping and expose corruption and lying - and to respect diversity and difference" (p. ix). Because he organizes the book around questions and answers, readers can quickly find material addressing specific topics.

The wide-ranging first chapter sets the stage for the book by identifying today's prominent ethical dilemmas and outlining philosophical and practical perspectives on these. The chapter concludes with question-and-answer interviews with four prominent journalists on topics such as journalists' reliance on elite sources, "dumbing down" of mass media content, and citizen journalism. Chapter 3 addresses regulation of the mainstream news media through ethics codes and organizations such as the Press Complaints Commission, which allows American journalists and students to make comparisons between British and American codes and regulatory bodies.

Chapters on mass media portrayals of race and ethnicity (chapter 7) and on mass media representations of gender, disabilities, and gays/lesbians (chapter 8) provide insightful examples from British mass media. Keeble cites examples of negative mass media portrayals of Gypsies, immigrants, and ethnic minorities. He attributes this, in part, to a lack of minority representation among journalists. In the chapter on mass media representations, he encourages journalists to avoid sexist language and portray those with mental illness in less stereotypical ways - suggestions that would benefit journalists in many countries.

Keeble's book is extensively documented with numerous examples of each topic discussed. For example, the chapter on "sleaze coverage" and privacy contains ten pages of bulleted points tracing the history of privacy regulation in Britain. At times, the number of examples and expert quotes seems a bit mind-boggling, particularly for American readers unfamiliar with some of the incidents and people he describes. At the same time, Keeble's exhaustive research adds to his credibility. Also, broad ethical questions he addresses throughout the book resonate with American journalists and journalism students because similar challenges confront U.S. news media.

The chapter on news media coverage of war demonstrates Keeble's passion for the topic. He explores such questions as whether news media should automatically support war efforts in which their country is involved, whether news media succumbed to government manipulation during the Persian Gulf conflict of 1991, and whether news media were correct to agree to a news blackout over Prince Harry's deployment to Afghanistan in 2008. Acknowledging his own commitment to "peace journalism," Keeble notes that he launched a group called Journalists Against Nuclear Extermination to work for peace through the National Union for Journalists. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ethics for Journalists/Media Ethics: Key Principles for Responsible Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.