Chapter 13 - Chapter 13: Ethics 1) Ethics In American Life...

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Chapter 13: Ethics 1) Ethics In American Life a) History of journalist standards i) Ethical decision making (1) Making ethical decisions has been a concern of journalists since at least the early 20 th century, when many reporters wanted to be among the emerging groups of professionals. However, attempts to determine exactly what standards of conduct and moral judgment constitute ethical behavior have resulted in a continuing debate rather than absolute standards. ii) As newspaper editors adopted an information model during the middle of the 20 th century (1) Information model: Pattern of behavior for disseminating information as news; incorporates values such as objectivity over partisanship. iii) Focus on individuals gave rise to new discussions about ethics. (1) After 1850, however critics began to focus on the relationship between press and society, and they increasingly addressed press issues iv) With the rise of sensational journalism in the 1890’s, critics began to focus on attributes of news. (1) Fact and opinion should be separated (2) Paved the way for development of journalism education, ethic codes. b) Development of standards for public relations. i) By the end of WWI, extensive use of propaganda techniques during the war raised ethical issues for practitioners of public relations as well as for journalists. (1) 1923, Edward L. Bernays (a) Crystallizing Public Opinion 2) Classical Ethics in a Modern Society a) Book: Media Ethics b) 5 theoretical approaches i) The wide variety of theoretical approaches to ethical decision making indicates how hard it is to create ethical standards that apply to all situation. Some theorists argue that this is impossible, that decisions must be made within a specific
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specific circumstances can be evaluated. (1) The golden mean (a) Moderation (b) Operating somewhere between two extremes. (2) The categorical imperative (a) What is right for one is right for all. (b) Absolute ethics (i) A code of ethics that allows no deviation for its rules. (3) The principle of utility (a) Decisions are made on the basis of what provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people. (4) The Veil of ignorance (a) Justice emerges when social differentiations are eliminated in the process of negotiation. (5) Judeo-Christian ethic (a) “do onto others as you would have them do unto you” (b) Treat all with respect (c) “the golden rule” 3) Political and Economic Demand for Ethical Behavior a) Public, press, educators, and critics demand ethical behavior. i) Change as cultural norms within society change. b) Economic demand involves several factors i) Credibility and profit (1) A measurement of how well a journalist or media organization is trusted. If a high percentage of the public perceives a journalist as truthful, that person has credibility. (2) If people question the credibility of one network news department, then they
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Chapter 13 - Chapter 13: Ethics 1) Ethics In American Life...

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