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Digital Dilemmas: Ethical Issues for Online Media Professionals

Digital Dilemmas: Ethical Issues for Online Media Professionals

Robert I. Berkman , Christopher A. Shumway

ISBN: 978-0-813-80236-7

Apr 2003, Wiley-Blackwell

386 pages

Select type: Paperback

In Stock



Journalism and mass communications professionals entering the innovative world of new media technology face a wave of challenging and often unanticipated ethical quandaries. Digital Dilemmas: Ethical Issues for Online Media Professionals is the first title in Blackwell Publishing's Media and Technology series (Alan B. Albarran, series editor). This important new text establishes a framework for discussing, understanding, and ultimately making sound decisions on meeting these ethical challenges. In addition, the book provides guidelines for approaching and making decisions from an ethical standpoint.

Part one of the text gives background and overview information to examine existing professional ethical codes and their applicability in the new media. Part two delves into the ethical dilemmas faced by all online communications professionals—privacy, speech and intellectual property. Part three warns the reader about three specific types of ethical hazards—speed vs. accuracy and quality; validating Internet sources; and blurring editorial with commercial information.

Through the use of historical summaries, discussion of specific problems, case study illustrations, critical thinking exercises, chapter summaries, key points, and recommended readings, each chapter comprehensively explores ethical issues. Aimed at students as well as practicing journalists and media professionals, Digital Dilemmas serves as the essential text and user’s guide to the emerging ethical challenges facing those who work or plan to work in the online media.




Part I: Painting The Larger Picture: Media, Ethical Codes, and the Internet Age

1. Online Media Ethics in Perspective.

2. The Role of Media in Democratic Society.

3. New Challenges: Who is a Journalist in the Internet Era?

Part II: Society-wide Ethical Dilemmas for Online Media Professionals
4. Privacy
· Collecting and selling data on website visitors.

· Making judgments based on Internet behavior and activity.

· Surreptitious monitoring of others’ email and Web use.

· Complying with governmental demands to turn over private information

5. Speech
· Permitting hateful and harassing speech on your website or forum.

· Posting of offensive images.

· Complying with governmental demands for removal of specified information or voices

6. Intellectual Property and Copyright
· Copying and downloading copyrighted material on the Internet.

· Determining the appropriate level of protection for your own online works.

· The ethics of active non-compliance to existing copyright laws

Part III: Journalistic Ethical Dilemmas for Online Media Professionals
7. Speed and Accuracy.

8. Sources and Searches: Does the Internet Make Journalists Lazy?.

9. When Business and Ethics Collide: Advertising, the Internet and Editorial Independence

Afterword: The Internet, Media Consolidation and Democracy .


Ethical Codes of Leading Professional Media Associations.

Ethical Codes for Gannett Newspapers