Table of Contents, Fall 2020


Image by Center for Media EngagementImage by Center for Media EngagementThe Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin invited three prominent journalists to join them for a virtual conversation on the media’s role in this year’s events. Read the transcript of the first hour of the discussion.


Photo by cottonbro from PexelsPhoto by cottonbro from PexelsThe falsehoods this year were overwhelming in scope and scurrilous in depth, and the massive truth-denial of the social media and the false equivalence of the mainstream media were determining factors in this year’s election.


Georgia Election Results by County - Magog the Ogre, CC0Georgia Election Results by County - Magog the Ogre, CC0Hearing the President call Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger an "enemy of the people," we must recognize the statement for what it is: a sweeping and scandalous attempt to undermine this democracy. And in the same ways news media had to wrestle with traditional journalism ethics in figuring out how to cover the Trump presidency, we now stand at a moment that demands an ethics for all public communication.


Edmund B Lambeth - Courtesy of Memorial Funeral HomeEdmund B Lambeth - Courtesy of Memorial Funeral HomeEdmund B. Lambeth passed away May 2, 2020 in Columbia, Missouri. He was a professor of journalism at Indiana University, director of the University of Kentucky School of Journalism, and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at University of Missouri School of Journalism. Here several former students and colleagues pay tribute to his memory.


Photo by Harsch Shivam from PexelsPhoto by Harsch Shivam from PexelsAs fake news or misinformation rapidly become a global problem, these could further be exacerbated by the use of virtual reality. Adoption of such immersive journalism technologies may not prove to be sustainable unless news organizations consider the ethical issues these technologies bring. 


Ann McKee/BU via APAnn McKee/BU via APA major study found 99% of former NFL players had a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Meanwhile, the media is complicit in broadcasting player collisions not just during the live telecast, but ad nauseam in highlights following the contest. In the face of media coverage which amplifies and magnifies injurious content, the scaffolding of care ethics is offered as an approach that seeks to minimize harm and offer guidance in the production and consumption of sports such as football.



Image from PixabayImage from PixabayThis essay questions the ethics of media and marketing framing in the context of sports gambling. The analysis will enhance the importance of understanding the framing process from an ethical perspective for all risk-behavior industries.


Image from nytimes.comImage from nytimes.comThis case study examines the values in conflict when a paper publishes a controversial op-ed piece. Should newsrooms continue to publish op-eds if they know that they will be controversial? Where is the line between a controversial piece and an offensive piece?


Photo by Marsha MillerPhoto by Marsha MillerCable news is now greatly influencing the political reality of millions of Americans. What ethical responsibilities do cable newsrooms hold as truth seeking institutions? Are partisan news channels failing these responsibilities? 

Upcoming and past meetings, events, lectures, resources, and seminars related to media ethics are shared here. The announcements that follow are based on information supplied by the organizations involved or other sponsors. If you wish to have announcements of future meetings published in Media Ethics, please contact the editor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Resources for Teaching Ethics

The 100th ethics case study has been released today by the Media Ethics Initiative, part of the Center for Media Engagement in the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. The most recent case concerns social media and the shaming of COVID-19 protocol violators (“TikTok, Time to Snitch”). It is an easy, concise, and catchy way to give your students something to ground discussions of social media, shaming, and ethics. It’s also a fascinating case in the ethics of free speech and democracy online. Check out the other 99 cases at: They cover a range of interesting and important topics in digital ethics, free speech, journalism, advertising/PR, political communication, art, health communication, south Asian media, and sports communication. All are free and readily available in PDF format, and they are designed for a range of uses and pedagogical frameworks. 


Abramis Academic PublishingAbramis Academic PublishingTom Cooper, a professor of Visual and Media Arts at Emerson College, presents in his 2020 book Doing the Right Thing twelve case studies based on exceptional leaders who made remarkable decisions under dire conditions.


Scott R. Stroud  
Moody College of Communication/UT Austin  
Tom Cooper  
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
Justin Pehoski  
Mary-Lynne Bohn, Accent Design, Inc.  
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

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

  • Contact: Clifford Christians, Director, Institute of Communications Research, College of Communications, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 810 S. Wright St., Suite 228, Urbana, IL 61801; Telephone: 217.333.1549; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Website: Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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.

  • Contact: José J. Sánchez-Aranda, Facultad de Comunicación, Universidad de Navarra, Pamploma, España; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Website: The School of Public Communication, University of Navarra

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.

  • Contact: Emerson College, 120 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116; Telephone: 617.824.8500. 
  • Website: Emerson College

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.

Contact: Director, Denise Sevick Bortree, The Arthur W. Page Center, 201 Carnegie Building, University Park, PA 16802; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Telephone: 814.863.6307.

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.

  • Contact: Michael D. Burroughs, Ph.D., Director, Kegley Institute of Ethics, 26 BDC, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, CA 93311; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Telephone: 661-654-3578
  • Website: Kegley Institute of Ethics

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.

  • Contact: Janie Harden Fritz (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Alyssa Groom (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.); Telephone: 412.396.6446. Mailing address: Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Duquesne University, 600 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15282.
  • Website: Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, Duquesne University  


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.