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The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News

September 2009, ©2009, Wiley-Blackwell
The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News (EHEP002117) cover image
The Ethical Journalist gives aspiring journalists the tools they need to make responsible professional decisions.
  • Provides a foundation in applied ethics in journalism
  • Examines the subject areas where ethical questions most frequently arise in modern practice
  • Incorporates the views of distinguished print, broadcast and online journalists, exploring such critical issues as race, sex, and the digitalization of news sources
  • Illustrated with 24 real-life case studies that demonstrate how to think in 'shades of gray' rather than 'black and white'
  • Includes questions for class discussion and guides for putting important ethical concepts to use in the real world
  • Accompanying website includes model course schedules, discussion guides, PowerPoint slides, sample quiz and exam questions and links to additional readings online: www.wiley.com/go/foreman
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Foreword: Journalism Genes xvii

Preface xx

Acknowledgments xxii

Part I: A Foundation for Making Ethical Decisions 1

1 Why Ethics Matters in Journalism 3

2 Ethics: The Bedrock of a Society 16

3 The News Media's Role in Society 24

4 For Journalists, a Clash of Moral Duties 39

5 The Public and the Media: Love and Hate 56

6 Applying Four Classic Theories of Ethics 74

7 Using a Code of Ethics as a Decision Tool 83

8 Making Moral Decisions You Can Defend 105

Part II: Exploring Themes of Ethics Issues in Journalism 121

9 Stolen Words, Invented Facts . . . Or Worse 123

10 Confl icts of Interest: Divided Loyalties 137

11 The Business of Producing Journalism 159

12 Getting the Story Right and Being Fair 183

13 Dealing With Sources of Information 208

14 Making News Decisions About Privacy 229

15 Making News Decisions About Taste 252

16 Deception, a Controversial Reporting Tool 268

17 Covering a Diverse, Multicultural Society 288

18 Ethics Issues Specific to Web Journalism 313

19 Ethics Issues Specific to Visual Journalism 336

20 Ethics in the Changing Media Environment 360

Conclusion: Some Thoughts to Take With You 378

Case Study Sources 381

Index 392

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Gene Foreman joined the Penn State faculty in 1998 after retiring from The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he managed newsroom operations for more than 25 years under various titles—managing editor, executive editor and deputy editor. He also was a vice president of the company.
At Penn State, he was the Larry and Ellen Foster Professor from 1999 until his retirement from full-time teaching in December 2006. He taught courses in news editing, news media ethics and newspaper management. In 2003, Foreman received two awards for excellence in teaching in the College of Communications—the Deans' Award and the Alumni Society Award.
As a visiting professor, he continues to direct the Foster Conference of Distinguished Writers, in which acclaimed journalists are brought to campus to discuss their experiences and techniques. He also is a guest lecturer in courses at Penn State and conducts seminars to help professionals improve their skills.
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  • Provides a foundation in applied ethics in journalism
  • Examines the subject areas where ethical questions most frequently arise in modern practice
  • Incorporates the views of distinguished print, broadcast and online journalists, exploring such critical issues as race, sex, and the digitalization of news sources
  • Illustrated with 24 real-life case studies that demonstrate how to think in ‘shades of gray’ rather than ‘black and white’
  • Includes questions for class discussion and guides for putting important ethical concepts to use in the real world 
  • Accompanying website includes model course schedules, discussion guides, PowerPoint slides, sample quiz and exam questions and links to additional readings online www.wiley.com/go/foreman
  • Lecture by Gene Foreman at Clinton School of Public Service http://www.viddler.com/explore/clintonschool/videos/345/
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“The book is superb – the definitive work on journalism ethics and practices. It should be a basic text in every school of journalism.”
- Gene Roberts, former executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, former managing editor of The New York Times, former professor, University of Maryland College of Journalism

The Ethical Journalist is like GPS for sound decision-making.”
- Jim Naughton, President Emeritus of the Poynter Institute of Media Studies

“Gene Foreman practiced and championed high ethical standards in newsrooms for decades. He’s now written a clear, compelling text on journalism ethics. It’s practical, principled and powerful.”
- Robert M. Steele, Director of The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, DePauw University

“Gene Foreman, a great editor and teacher, has produced a comprehensive – yet very easy to read and use – guide to journalistic values and ethics that shows journalists and students how to make responsible decisions about news in print and cyberspace. An essential road map for a rapidly changing journalistic landscape.”
- Leonard Downie, Weil Family Professor of Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, and former editor, The Washington Post

“...Readers’ tendency to oversimplify ethical method will be challenged by Gene Foreman’s The Ethical Journalist, which I find more complex and engaging than other texts, and which will, therefore, become the first ethics text I can comfortably prescribe – for both graduate and undergraduate classes....The book’s tone is thoughtful but forthright, its style clear but engaging, its stance fair but unabashed. It’s obviously written by a practiced craftsman who is passionate about his work, and curious about its dilemmas.”
- Ivor Shapiro, chair, School of Journalism, Ryerson University, in a review in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Summer 2010

“At a time when the Internet has turned journalism inside out and blown up long-held traditions, the need for media ethics is even more critical. This is the book to help guide students and the rest of us through the revolution.”
- Alicia C. Shepard, former NPR Ombudsman

“I am blown away by how good this book is. It is practical, insightful and even-handed.”
- Tim McGuire, Frank Russell Professor of Journalism at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, former editor of the Star Tribune in Minneapolis

"In a new book, written as a text for journalism students, former Philadelphia Inquirer managing editor Gene Foreman draws on half a century of journalism experience to chart a path through the thicket."
- Green Bay Press-Gazette, November 2009

"The book provides a foundation in applied ethics in journalism, and examines the subject areas where ethical questions most frequently arise. Many other real-life episodes are cited in the book's narrative to illustrate how journalists have dealt with ethical challenges."
- Penn State Live, August 2009

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The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News
ISBN : 978-1-4443-2606-2
432 pages
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The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News
ISBN : 978-1-4051-8394-9
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September 2009, ©2009
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The Ethical Journalist: Making Responsible Decisions in the Pursuit of News
ISBN : 978-1-4051-8445-8
432 pages
September 2009
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