The Moral Media: How Journalists Reason about Ethics

By Lee Wilkins; Renita Coleman | Go to book overview

Preface

This book is designed to provide readers with some preliminary answers to questions about ethical thinking in a professional environment. For those who are or aspire to be journalists, it attempts to describe how some of your professional colleagues make ethical decisions—what is important to them and what influences their thinking. For scholars in journalism and mass communication, it provides some rigorous and empirically grounded answers to questions such as: Do journalists, although they may lack the vocabulary of moral philosophy, reason through moral questions in ways that classical philosophers would recognize? For psychologists, particularly those interested in human development and behavior, it asks if visual information—the kind contained in photographs—aids thinking. And for philosophers who read this book, we attempt to describe how people build their own philosophical worlds, and how those mental constructions actually influence professional practice. What we seek to create is a theoretical loom that weaves the threads of professional life into a recognizable pattern. That's what we hope professionals will find in this book—real lives and real choices they recognize.

We also leave some important questions incompletely explored. This volume, based of necessity in one particular understanding of moral development, cannot fully explore all the alternate explanations to moral development now current in the psychological literature. However, alternative explanations are offered, particularly when they provide additional explanatory power and depth. Furthermore, this book explores only a few of the ethical issues that journalists face. Finally, if people come to this book seeking to learn why people say one thing and do another—particularly when ethics is involved—this volume, although it addresses the question in some ways, will be incomplete. Instead, we hope this work will serve as a beginning on which other scholars, and indeed professionals who are concerned

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