An Integrated Approach to Communication Theory and Research

By Michael B. Salwen; Don W. Stacks | Go to book overview

32
Communication Ethics

Donald K. Wright University of South Alabama

Philip Meyer ( 1987), who enjoyed two distinguished professional careers in the communication field--first as a newspaper reporter with The Miami Herald and then as a journalism professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill--called communication ethics "a slippery topic," and likened the assignment of defining ethical behavior to the task of defining art (p. vii).

Ethics--in all aspects of communication study and practice--has attracted a good deal of attention over the past few decades. Many who work in various aspects of communication are bombarded regularly with diverse ethical cues, and too few of these communications practitioners really have developed frameworks for making ethical judgments. This chapter explores the concept of ethics from several perspectives, aiming at a broad understanding of the pragmatic, the conceptual, and the practical implications of communication ethics across disciplinary areas.


THE DESIRE TO BE ETHICAL

The desire for ethical behavior depends entirely upon the actions of individuals and the assumption that these people wish to act responsibly. Goodpaster and Matthews ( 1989) addressed three important concerns in terms of the ethical responsibility of

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