Fall 2018, Vol. 30, No. 1
An introduction to the present issue and a preview of the exciting new directions Media Ethics will explore.
In this Forum, we address the role of media coverage of the #MeToo movement, including its internationalization, what is erased by the movement, limits to its power to enact change, possible harm to those who speak, and next steps.
In media representations of rape during the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, we are challenged by the ethical implications of the subjective body in testimony. How can the rape “report,” mediated or otherwise, be held accountable to both personal and social justice?
The ridicule of victims of sexual harassment, by both female and male media talking heads, is unethical and irresponsible. But it is also symptomatic of the fact that women in Eastern Europe remain trapped in a public climate and a media space that doesn’t recognize the structural roots of sexual power, thus rendering the “Weinstein” monster a rare oddity of the West.
Sensational reporting on the first Korean #MeToo case may have caused further trauma to the victim and turned public opinion. Journalists should be trained to refine their sensitivity to victims’ human rights and to follow guidelines for best practices, which must be adapted to the fast-changing environment of the digital media era.
Given its impact on public opinion, the media have an ethical imperative to include in its reporting the rich body of research on the sociocultural roots of sexual violence.
In assessing the coverage of the #MeToo movement, it matters that progressive media influencers can’t accurately tell the history of the movement’s founding and connections to Black women activists.
The successes of #MeToo have resulted in various forms of backlash, creating ethical tensions between aggressive media exposure of abusers on the one hand and the consequences for victims.
An examination of the Kavanaugh hearings offers insight into how the media disseminates information and how it guides public opinion about the prevalence and impact of sexual harassment and assault. It has also reignited the debate about how #MeToo claims should be handled within the K-12 education community.
Ironically, the core ethical issue for the media’s involvement in #MeToo is a lack of participant consent. Instead of engaging in activism they were being entertained. The outcome The Kavanaugh case should serve as a wake-up call: the perceived strength of #MeToo is based on an outdated premise that media coverage is synonymous with political power.
Given the many tensions between the successes and failures of the #MeToo movement, what has been its impact? The movement has revolutionized our social environments, yet advocates need to continue the work they are doing, and heed the criticisms leveled here.
Since websites are often not legally obligated to moderate expression, who has the responsibility of moderating between free speech and censorship, and on what basis do they decide?
Disrupting Journalism Ethics argues that scholars, students, and citizens should throw off the weight of journalism tradition and advance new and bold models of responsible journalism in a public sphere now digital, global, and toxic.
In 2018, an image of a distraught Honduran child beside her mother and a U.S. border agent came to represent Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy toward undocumented immigrants and found itself on the cover of Time. Does the fact that the toddler was not separated from her mother matter, given that thousands of other children were?
Was Nike's latest “Just Do It” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick primarily interested in social justice or simply a clever ploy to sell more shoes?
Earlier this fall, scholars were selected by the Page Center to study the current state of "fake news." Those scholars contributed blog posts that preview their work and discuss expectations of their research. You can read all of the posts on the Page Center's website .
A growing list of case studies suitable for use in media and communication ethics courses can be found at the Media Ethics Initiative website. The Media Ethics Initiative is based in the Center for Media Engagement in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas Austin.
The MEAI conference will take place at the University of Toronto, June 27-30, 2019. Bringing together leading scholars, experimentalists, and experts from all over the world and different disciplines, the conference welcomes scholarly works that entice important ethical discussions and challenges that face humanity in a connected world. The conference threads include, but not
limited to: AI; data ethics, privacy, and surveillance; cyber security and data protection; misinformation, net Neutrality, digital inclusion; digital citizenship, social and political engagement; individual expression, wellbeing sustainability and prosperity in the media environment. Papers, abstracts, and panel proposal submissions are also welcome from the broad array of disciplines focusing on the study of media as environments, technology and techniques, modes of information, and symbolic codes of communication that constitute media ecology.
The Call-for-Papers has been recently extended. The final deadline is January 15, 2019. More details: http://mediaethics.ca/Call-for-Papers
The branch of the UN (see first link below) with which I have been working over the past two years has completed curriculum in ethics/integrity and social justice/diversity at the university level to be available for use worldwide in ways that can be adopted regionally and customized for local use. Similar curricular development within UNODC is ongoing for ethics and integrity instruction at the high school and grade school levels. I wish to share with you an update and sample of our work below. Naturally if you know of any colleagues worldwide who might be interested in studying, adopting, or publicizing these modules or who express interest in other aspects of the project presented at the link below, please feel free to forward. Thanks for your leadership and your support for ethics and social justice. Tom Cooper
We are happy to announce that the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative has completed the development of a series of 14 University Modules on Integrity & Ethics . The Modules are available here , and can be used by lecturers anywhere as a basis for teaching on integrity and ethics. They contain ideas for class exercises, open source reference materials, and other pedagogical tools.
To promote usage and continuous improvement of the Modules, in the coming months (Aug 2018-June 2019) we will hold the following activities:
1. Regional workshops: A series of regional workshops for university lecturers will be held to enhance their capacity to teach the Modules and integrate them into their courses. E4J held the first lecturer workshop in Europe in August 2018 and aims to hold additional workshops in Latin America (in Oct 2018), Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Please let us know if you have colleagues from those regions who might wish to participate in such a workshop.
2. Participation in international conferences: To raise awareness about the Modules and enhance the network of academics benefiting from them, E4J plans to participate in relevant high-profile international conferences. For example, E4J will participate in the International Legal Ethics Conference VIII ( ILEC 2018) in a session dedicated to the Modules. Please let us know of any such conferences where we can present the Modules.
3. Impact assessment: UNODC is not only concerned with increasing the number of lecturers teaching the Modules, but also seeks to ensure that the Modules are of high quality. To this end, E4J is in the process of designing a study that would help us understand the Modules’ impact on students and inform our efforts to improve and promote the Modules. We will share more details about the impact assessment once the study design is finalized.
4. E4J Champions Programme: Lecturers who are teaching or would like to teach the Modules can henceforth apply for a UNODC sponsorship of up to 1,000 USD to support one of the following activities:
a. Module localization: The sponsorship will support lecturers in adapting the Modules to their specific local, educational and disciplinary contexts, to ensure that the Modules can be easily and effectively taught at their university/department. Such “localization” process would entail different things in different places, depending on what would make the Modules locally useful and attractive. While in some places this would mean enhancing the Modules with local case studies and relevant exercises, in other places it would mean adding local materials to the reading lists, and yet in other places this would require translating the Modules to a local language. Applicants would take on themselves to mobilize colleagues to assist with the localization process, essentially leading a local focus group that adapts the Modules to the relevant contexts. The sponsorship recipients will receive guidance from UNODC and will be required to report on their progress, outcome and student feedback.
b. Mentorship: The sponsorship will support lecturers who wish to travel to/spend time at another university in order to mentor/coach less experienced lecturers on how to teach on the basis of the E4J Modules.
c. Academic publications: The sponsorship will cover expenses that relate to the publication of a paper or essay about integrity and ethics education which refers to the E4J Modules.
A review of Slow Media by Jennifer Rauch. While slow media might seem like a fringe fad, a closer look at this book shows that it fosters X-ray vision into some of the deeper patterns of both our social denouement and positive possibilities.
|Scott R. Stroud|
|Moody College of Communication/UT Austin|
|Anantha S. Babbili||Jane E. Kirtley|
|Ralph Barney||Christopher Meyers|
|Michael D. Burroughs||Grafton Nunes|
|Marvin Kalb||Jennifer Pozner|
|Richard Keeble||Lance Strate|
|Jean Kilbourne||Larry Rasky|
|Clifford G. Christians||Edward Wasserman|
|Mike Kittross (Editor, 1996-2018)|
|Eric Elbot (Co-editor, 1990-1996)|
|Manny Paraschos (Publisher)|
|Jay Black||Kenneth A. Harwood|
|Tom Brislin||Robert Hilliard|
|Amy M. Damico||Jerry Lanson|
|Deni Elliott||Kaarle Nordenstreng|
|A. David Gordon||Jeffrey L. Seglin|
|Gary Grossman||Jane B. Singer|
|Mary-Lynne Bohn, Accent Design, Inc.|
|WEB DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE|
|Joe Higgins | Silver Oak Design|
Call for Manuscripts
Media Ethics welcomes submissions for publication in its forthcoming issues. Published online twice a year, Media Ethics is an independent, open-access, scholarly forum for the sharing of research and views on current topics in media ethics. Media Ethics takes a purposely broad and pluralistic view of media ethics, encompassing topics in journalism ethics, advertising ethics, digital ethics, computer ethics, organizational communication ethics, entertainment ethics, film ethics, as well as communication ethics in general. We also welcome submissions that explore ethical issues in an international context, or from the vantage point of other disciplines such as philosophy or technology studies. Media Ethics is interested in encouraging and sharing scholarly work on any important normative topic in communication or media.
Media Ethics is a scholarly publication that was established in 1987 by Cliff Christians, Tom Cooper, Manny Paraschos, and Mike Kittross. It probes ethical issues in media, journalism, and communication ethics. It features creative and innovative pieces that showcase current scholarship or that analyze recent events, or shorter pieces that allow scholars to promptly voice their opinions on important topics in the current media environment. Media Ethics welcomes the submission of long and concise articles, book reviews, teaching commentaries, and case studies for possible publication. Media Ethics is published by the Moody College of Communication and the Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin under the editorship of Dr. Scott R. Stroud.
Scholars are encouraged to submit long articles (up to 10,000 words) or short commentary pieces (750+ words) for consideration. All submitted manuscripts are subject to editing at the discretion of the editor, and publication is not guaranteed. Because of our editorial policies of independence and inclusion, neither the sponsors nor the editor shall be held responsible for any views expressed in Media Ethics by authors or others. All manuscripts, book reviews, case studies, and teaching pieces should be submitted via email to:
Dr. Scott R. Stroud, Media Ethics Editor
Department of Communication Studies
University of Texas at Austin
Submissions will be considered at any time.
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Media Ethics is grateful to its sponsors identified below, who are neither responsible for nor in control of our content.
The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley The Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, has a longstanding commitment to nurturing principled newsgathering and storytelling, guided by a strong dedication to public illumination and civic betterment. Its two-year, immersive master of journalism curriculum includes instruction in professional ethics led by professor and former dean Tom Goldstein and current dean and journalism professor Edward Wasserman, formerly Knight chair in journalism ethics at Washington and Lee University.
The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law at the University of Minnesota The Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law is a research center located within the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. Its primary mission is to conduct research on, and promote understanding of, legal and ethical issues affecting the mass media. The Silha Center also sponsors an annual lecture series; hosts forums, conferences and symposia; produces the Silha Bulletin, a quarterly newsletter, and other publications; and provides information about media law and ethics to the public. Support is provided for faculty research, and for Silha Fellows working on advanced degrees.
The Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign The Institute offers a Ph.D. in communications within the traditions of social scientific research, historic-cultural interpretation, linguistics, and political economy. Its B.S. degree in Media Studies is rooted in the liberal arts. The Institute develops intellectually productive approaches to cultural, political, ethical and social challenges of the global communications economy. Public service and social responsibility are emphasized in the curriculum and research projects. Work in ethics is required of undergraduates and doctoral dissertations in communication ethics are an option.
Facultad de Comunicación, Universidad de Navarra/The School of Public Communication, University of Navarra, offered the first Spanish academic degree in journalism starting in 1958. Since that time, it has offered both graduate and undergraduate degrees in three different sequences: Advertising, Radio, Film and Television, and Journalism. Each sequence includes specific courses involving media ethics.
Emerson College Emerson College is the nation's only four-year college devoted exclusively to the study of communication and performing arts. Emerson's School of the Arts and School of Communication both sponsor Media Ethics magazine on behalf of Emerson College and emphasize ethics in special programs, in their curricula, and in faculty research and publications.
Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication The Arthur W. Page Center for Integrity in Public Communication is a research center at The Pennsylvania State University College of Communications dedicated to the study and advancement of ethics and responsibility in corporate communication. The Center has awarded over $320,000 to scholars and professionals to support research about ethics and responsibility in public communication.
Kegley Institute of Ethics The Kegley Institute of Ethics is committed to stimulating ethical thought and reflection on the California State University, Bakersfield campus and in our greater community. We host major lectures, panels and workshops, and we sponsor scholarships and research for faculty and students.
Endicott College School of Communications Endicott College strives to instill in students an understanding of and an appreciation for professional and liberal studies through coursework andnapplied learning. The College has a vision for the total development of the individual within a community that fosters an appreciation of diversity, international awareness, community service, and moral and ethical values. For further information see Web Site.
Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Duquesne University Duquesne University's Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies teaches and conducts research and development in the broad domain of communication studies, including integrated marketing communication, public relations and advertising, corporate communication, intercultural communication, communication ethics, rhetoric, and persuasion in the marketplace. Our departmental foundations are communication ethics, a humanities approach to the discipline, a research and development culture, and ongoing practical engagement with the marketplace.
In addition to the intellectual contributions of our authors, and the financial contributions of our sponsors, Media Ethics would like to express its particular gratitude to:
Bob Gardner, film-maker, scholar, and benefactor, passed away in 2014. But his support of Media Ethics continues, since his latest gift was dedicated to the five-year period 2012-2017, an act of generosity we truly appreciate.
Our hosts at the Institute of Communications Research of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, the past publishers of the magazine, are to be thanked. The current publisher of Media Ethics, the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin and its Center for Media Engagement, are also to be thanked for their gracious support of the magazine’s present and future mission.
These “special thanks” shouldn't be thought of as detracting from our appreciation for The Grand Masonic Lodge of Massachusetts, particularly Grand Secretary Arthur Johnson, Grand Master Roger Pageau, and Assistant Grand Treasurer Craig MacPherson for providing the space and other facilities that enable the Media Ethics office to function.
We also want to give thanks and recognition for the significant support of the following individuals and groups: Randy Bytwerk, Mark Fackler, the Dept. of Communications at Calvin College, Jochen Zeitz, and anonymous individuals. The voluntary donations of each of these friends is extremely important to us.