Academic journal article The Journalism Educator

Books -- the Journalist's Moral Compass: Basic Principles Edited by Steven R. Knowlton and Patrick R. Parsons

Academic journal article The Journalism Educator

Books -- the Journalist's Moral Compass: Basic Principles Edited by Steven R. Knowlton and Patrick R. Parsons

Article excerpt

*Knowlton, Steven R. and Patrick R. Parsons, Eds. (19941. The Journalist's Moral Compass: Basic Principles. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers. 274 pp. Hardback, $49.95.

So who needs another book on ethics? For the past dozen years it seems that anyone who wanted to pontificate about the media has managed to pull together a book of readings about this hot topic. In the meantime anyone who teaches in communications has found it necessary to deal with the issue of media ethics, regardless of the class taught. For a lot of us, this has meant scrambling to get up to speed in this pivotal area.

In spite of the glut of ethics books showered upon us, The Journalist's Moral Compass arrives as a valuable collection of readings that will put anyone in touch with thinking on ethics from John Milton to Karl Marx to James Gordon Bennett to A.J. Liebling. The richness of these sources is what gives the book its value.

The focus is on general patterns instead of minor issues through case histories--an approach many ethics books now take. Instead, we get the wisdom of ancients, revolutionaries, and contemporaries.

A third of the book is devoted to the "Press and the State" section, in which a history lesson on developing thought about free expression is given. In addition to Milton, the editors offer key thought from Hobbes, Locke, Cato's Letters, Robespierre, Mill, and Warren and Brandeis on privacy. …

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