On behalf of MEDIA ETHICS, I wish to thank our readers, contributors, sponsors and friends for 15 years of shared ideas and commitment to media ethics. We have many reasons to be thankful, including our transformation from a four-page newsletter with a staff of one to a magazine many times larger with a staff of four who work closely with other professionals.
Editor Mike Kittross has surveyed and sculpted literally hundreds of articles and potential articles in the past decade or more while co-publisher Manny Paraschos and editorial/production assistant Cyndi Roy-the latest in a long row of outstanding assistants-are working assiduously to produce two outstanding issues each year.
Cyndi, under Manny's supervision, also is working on an on-line edition of MEDIA ETHICS that will make its debut soon.
To date, readers in 49 states and more than 30 countries have subscribed to or otherwise receive MEDIA ETHICS. Calls from The White House, TV Guide, major U. S. universities, and far beyond have come in over the years with messages along these lines: "We have a conference coming up on (say) 'Media and Violence.' Can you send us an entire box of your most recent issue?"
A lot can happen in 15 years.
Co-sponsors, from the media industry (such as the Christian Science Monitor and Group W Radio), academic institutions (various centers, institutes and departments in Brigham Young U., Duquesne U., Emerson C., Elizabethtown C., Fordham U., U. Hawai'i, U. of Illinois, U. Navarra, U. South Florida), and others (such as the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt U., the Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ, the Saudi-American Exchange, the Rasky/ Baerlein Group and the Foundation for Intelligent Physical Agents) have generously donated funds and in-kind offerings so that we might expand from newsletter to full-fledged magazine. Recently, AOL Time Warner and the Carol Burnett Fund at the University of Hawai'i have focused on our forthcoming expansion into on-line availability.
Individual patrons such as Leo Hindery, Jr., Helen Rose, Robert Gardner, and Jack Chang, also have been instrumental in providing our greater outreach and scope. An amazing number and variety of individuals also have served on the advisory board and as contributing editors. And, of course, without authors and readers the magazine wouldn't exist.
Throughout our first decade-and-a-half Emerson College has been home base and hosting sponsor. Although MEDIA ETHICS grew out of an "Ethics Summit" conference in the Boston area with 20 sponsoring organizations and publications, Emerson co-hosted that conference and has provided our office, supplies, and most employees ever since.
Emerson College presidents Koenig, Zacharis, and Liebergott, Provost Kittross (who has been our editor ever since he stepped out of administration), and department chairs Dave Gordon, Don Fry, George Quenzel, Walt Littlefield, Arthur Barron, Rob Sabal, and Mike Selig have all supported the magazine through thin and now thick. Innumerable other Emerson colleagues (professors such as Greg Payne, Jerry Lanson and Robert Hilliard, deans such as Marlene Fine and Grafton Nunes, trustees such as Larry Rasky and Helen Rose, staffers such as Mark Hamilton and Lois Ostapovicz, and student assistants such as Maryann D'Amato Wood, Ragnhild Ask, Brynhildur Ingvarsdottir, Sara Beechner, and Chris Dall (among others) have found ways to contribute funds, articles, or time and energy to the publication.
Our most faithful co-sponsor has been the Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota. Initially, professors Don Gillmor and Ted Glasser, and later directors Bill Babcock and Jane Kirtley, have consistently provided teamwork and support for each issue since day one. Our ongoing gratitude extends to all our partners in creation.
The seed for MEDIA ETHICS was planted at an informal huddle of Silha and Emerson colleagues. At the "Ethics Summit" in 1987, Don Gillmor, Ted Glasser, Mike Kittross, Dave Gordon, and I joined media ethics patron saint Cliff Christians (of the University of Illinois) to bat around ideas about how to fill the needs of our field.
As the six of us sat together, we considered the possibility of establishing a small newsletter, which could update (hence our original name, MEDIA ETHICS UPDATE) those in our field about new and relevant opportunities, publications, and events. We also thought that it might eventually provide a minor forum for "hot" cases, and issues emerging in media ethics, policy, and law.
Little did we know!
Without realizing what I was in for, I quickly became founder, editor, and chief bottle washer for the early operation. Fortunately, many colleagues (such as Eric Elbot, Jill Kovalich, Mike Kittross, Daphne Chuang, Manny Paraschos, Wendy Gillespie, Mary Ann D'Amato Wood), and our first sponsors eventually pitched in to make the dream workable and affordable. In time, larger contributions, both in the form of manuscripts), we hadn't realized how many people would have so much to say-and cash or kind donations, allowed us to morph from bulletin board to the larger debate forum we had vaguely envisioned.
As we begin our 16th year (and 15th volume, which is another story), on behalf of editor Mike Kittross, co-publisher Manny Paraschos, and editorial and production supervisor Cyndi Roy, I wish to sincerely thank all of our authors, readers, contributors, sponsors, and staff-past, present and future.
We look forward to ongoing expansion, depth, commitment to ethics, and to the contribution of your best ideas. Happy birthday to MEDIA ETHICS-and long live the burgeoning field of media ethics that we serve.
The above article was published in Media Ethics , Fall 2003 (15:1), pp.3,4.