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J 397 Week #1 Reading Notes

by: Kaitlyn Endo

J 397 Week #1 Reading Notes J 397

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Kaitlyn Endo
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reading notes for week #1 assigned reading
Media Ethics
Jennifer Schwartz
Class Notes
journalism, Media, ethics
25 ?




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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kaitlyn Endo on Wednesday October 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to J 397 at University of Oregon taught by Jennifer Schwartz in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views.


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Date Created: 10/12/16
WEEK  1   Chapter  1  What  is  Media  Ethics?       • Ethics  and  the  Act  of  Communication     o We  distinctly  do  not,  however,  accept  that  that  speech  will  or  should  be   allowed  to  force  us  into  a  particular  attitude  or  behavior  through  such   methods  as  deception,  coercion,  carelessness,  or  even  laziness     • Ethics  or  Morals?     o Ethics  has  come  to  be  recognized  as  the  study  of  concepts  such  as  ought,   should,  duty,  and  so  on,  whereas  moral  tends  to  be  attached  to  activities   that  are  either  good  or  bad  an  the  rules  that  we  develop  to  cover  those   activities     o Some  prefer  to  think  of  morals  as  being  culturally  transmitted  indicators   of  right  and  wrong   o Ethics  is  merely  a  way  to  determine  what  we  ought  to  do     o We  tend  to  associate  immorality  with  the  Judeo-­‐Chrisitan  concept  of  sin   and,  because  of  the  long-­‐standing  Puritan  heritage  within  our  culture,  sin   is  most  often  equated  with  evil     o Unethical  has  become  a  more  acceptable  term  in  our  modern  culture   because  it  tends  not  to  carry  the  connotation  of  evil  doing;  rather  it  is  used   most  often  to  connote  wrong  doing     o Ethical  or  unethical  rather  than  moral  or  immoral  seems  to  be  a  reflection   of  modernity  and  connotation  rather  than  representative  of  any  real   differences  in  meaning   o Wouldn’t  be  improbably  to  suggest  that  the  words  ethical  and  unethical   would  more  likely  be  heard  in  newsrooms  and  media  agencies  than  moral   and  immoral     • The  Media  and  Morality   o We  see  ourselves  in  newscast,  we  wonder  with  commentators  at  the   seeming  increases  in  violence  and  other  undesirable  cultural  trends,  and   we  wonder  with  commentators  at  the  seeming  increases  in  violence  and   other  undesirable  cultural  trends,  and  we  increasingly  enjoy  ever  speedier   and  flashier  entertainment     o They  do  reflect  what  we  are  right  now,  sometimes  distilled  so  much  as  to   be  simply  a  caricature,  but  reflective  none  the  less     o They  also  constantly  test  our  reactions  to  change,  and  back  off  only  when   it  becomes  unprofitable  for  them  not  to  do  so     o Modern  mass  media  are  both  reflective  of  that  change  and  effective  agents   of  it     • Are  the  Media  Prone  to  Ethical  Dilemmas?     o Why,  then,  do  we  seem  to  attach  so  much  importance  to  what  the  media   do?     § First  ethical  dilemmas  we  face  each  day  may  not  affect  large  numbers   of  people     § Rationale  used  by  nearly  all  forms  of  media  is  that  they  are   performing  a  public  service  by  adding  to  the  marketplace  of   information   § The  notion  that  the  media  should  perform  a  public  service  tends  to   set  them  apart  from  the  rest  of  society  and  sets  up  an  “us-­‐tem”   attitude  that  is  not  totally  without  basis     • The  Media  Are  Not  Us     o There  is  a  school  of  thought  that  paints  the  news  media,  for  instance,  as   the  representative  of  the  people,  acting  on  their  behalf  in  a  watchdog   function  over  govt  and  other  public  agencies.  However  that  function  is  as   much  self  serving  as  not.  We  must  never  foget  that  the  media  also  operates   within  a  capitalistic  system,  not  just  a  democratic  one,  and  that  we   purchase  the  news  as  much  as  we  purchase  any  other  commodity     o The  problem  in  understanding  the  place  of  the  media  in  our  democracy  is   that  the  media  today  are  not  constituted  the  same  way  that  the  media  of   our  country’s  founders  envisioned     o Objectivity  became  the  driving  goal  of  journalism     o Media  remain  different  from  the  people  they  serve     o Decisions  the  media  make  today  are  not  always  on  our  behalf     o The  media  are  separate  entities  existing  in  a  complete  and  competitive   environment,  and  they  can’t  always  afford  to  act  in  our  best  interest     o They  must  of  necessity,  sometimes  act  in  their  own     • Media  Culture  and  the  Clash  of  Priorities     o We  should  not  be  surprised,  then,  that  long-­‐time  media  practitioners   adhere,  almost  religiously,  to  principles  and  codes  dervived  from  “real   world”  experience  rather  than  any  “ivory  tower”  contemplation     o SPJ  code  was  drafted  by  working  journalists,  the  same  as  the  major  codes   of  both  public  relations  and  advertising  were  drafted  by  professionals  in   those  areas     o The  key  to  understanding  modern  journalism  is  to  realize  that  it  operates   within  the  context  of  organizational  structures  and  routines,  and  that   these  structures  and  routines  provide  for  what  he  calls  “news  sland”—the   very  way  in  which  news  is  gathered  and  the  routines  of  the  process  itself   have  had  a  detrimental  effect  on  journalism     o According  to  Entman,  the  media  “are  stymied  on  the  demand  side  by  the   lack  of  public  hunger  for  relevant  info  and  on  the  supply  side  by   overreliance  on  elite  services  and  the  industrial  imperatives  of  efficiency   and  profits”     o The  hunt  for  great  profit  has  led,  in  turn,  to  a  need  for  efficiency,  leading,   finally,  to  a  routine  of  dependency  on  whatever  method  of  news  gathering   is  easiest  and  fastest     o Media  laziness   § The  proliferation  of  magazine  news  programs  on  network  television   speaks  directly  to  this  approach.  Hidden  cameras,  exposes,  and  other   investigative  techniques  are  very  often  the  easiest  methods  of   gathering  some  kinds  of  info  and  are  often  cheaper  to  produce  and   run  than  sitcoms  and  dramas,  which  are  most  often  purchased  from   production  companies   § When  the  priority  of  news  gathering  becomes  to  get  the  story  fst,  the   temptation  is  greater  to  shortcut  not  only  the  process  but  also  an   inclination  to  ponder  troubling  questions  of  ethicality  à  economic   imperative  may  far  outweigh  the  moral  imperative     • The  Effects  f  Organizational  Structure  on  Moral  Decision  Making     o Responsibility  could  be  defined  as  a  bundle  of  obligations  associated  with   a  job  or  function     o Responsibility  refers  to  more  than  just  the  primary  function  of  a  role;  it   refers  to  the  multiple  facets  of  that  function   o Accountability  refers  to  blaming  or  crediting  someone  for  an  action— normally  an  action  associated  with  a  recognized  responsibility.  The   assumption,  therefore,  would  be  to  hold  a  person  who  is  responsible  for  an   action  accountable  also  for  the  results  of  that  action     o Job  of  news  becomes  undeniably  complex  when  the  news  division  is   subsumed  by  a  large,  no  news  oriented  org   o When  entertainment  value  is  believed  by  non  news  people  to  supersede   news  value,  the  groundwork  is  laid  for  a  decision  making  hierarchy  that   will  gradually  dilute  the  authority  of  media  practitioners  to  follow  their   own  personal  and  professional  directives     o Complex  orgs  tend  toward  decentralized  decision  making,  which,  in  turn,   calls  ofr  professionalized  decision  makers  at  every  level.  The  ideal  would   be  for  both  the  responsibility  and  the  accountability  of  decision  making  to   correlate     o Moral  “buck  passing”  becomes  the  rule  rather  than  exception   o Easy  to  blame  others  for  decisions  over  which  we  have  had  minimal  input   or  control     • Moral  Excuses   o There  are  several  common  “excuses”  that  we  typically  accept  as  valid   when  assessing  blame     o Constraint  for  instance  refers  to  both  physical  imperatives  and  lack  of   alternatives     • Can  Personal  Ethics  Become  Professional  Ethics?     o Ex:  the  importance  of  privacy     o When  we  adopt  a  profession  whose  entire  reason  for  being  is  provide  info,   we  may  find  the  obligations  of  that  job  may,  and  generally  do,  supersede   those  of  our  personal  lives.  By  letting  our  personal  principles  take  first   priority,  we  could  be  compromising  our  professional  principles     o Professional  values  may,  and  often  do,  outweigh  personal  values     o If  the  harm  outweighs  the  benefit—don’t  publish.  If  harm  and  benefit   appear  to  be  equal—publish.  Why?  Because  out  default  position  as  a   professional  journalist  is  to  provide  information  unless  there  is  a  good   reason  not  to     o The  ultimate  test  of  any  principles,  personal  or  professional,  must  be  the   efficacy  of  the  resulting  actions  based  on  those  principles—not  just  for  the   person  acting,  but  for  all  those  involved  or  affected  by  the  action.     • Media  Similarities:  The  Common  Threads     o Ethical  perspective,  they  all  are  obligated  to  moral  claimants:  those  who   have  some  stake  in  our  decisions   o The  media  under  discussion  here  all  profess  a  duty  to  truth  telling.  The   ideal  of  truthful  info  is  at  the  heart  of  all  communication  and  is  assumed  as   the  normal  default  in  our  everyday  exchanges  with  each  other     o The  place  of  truth  telling  in  our  basic  conception  of  communication     o In  addition  to  truth  telling,  the  mass  media  share  a  duty  of  avoidance  of   harm  toward  their  constituents     o Mass  media  also  share  a  need  for  credibility  for  without  credibility  their   massages  are  less  effective,  even  unbelievable   o It  would  be  a  false  assumption  to  believe  that  we  can  judge  the  ethicality  of   any  action  taken  in  one  form  of  media  by  the  template  used  to  judge   another     • Media  Goals     o All  communication  has  in  common  a  primary  set  of  goals.  Which  of  the  set   is  used  at  any  given  time  depends  on  the  medium  and  the  purpose  to   which  the  communication  is  being  put.  The  most  common  of  those  goals   are  info  dissemination,  persuasion,  and  entertainment     o News  media  also  give  us  what  we  want  which  typically  leads  to  a  sort  of   dynamic  tension  between  the  two  extremes     o It  is  a  given  that  in  order  to  give  us  what  we  need,  the  media  also  often   have  to  give  us  what  we  want     o Goals  of  Advertising   § The  primary  goal  of  advertising,  then,  is  more  likely  to  be  to  sell  a   product  than  to  impart  info.  Like  public  relations,  however,   advertising  may  inform  or  entertain  in  order  to  persuade  later.     o Goals  of  Public  Relations     § One  of  the  primary  goals  of  public  relations  is  to  iform     § Information  produced  by  public  relations  can  also  be  viewed  as   contributing  to  the  “marketplace  of  ideas”     § There  is  a  school  of  thought  that  holds  that  public  communication  of   any  kind  potentially  contributes  to  public  debate     § If  we  trace  the  rise  of  modern  democracy  to  those  Greek  roots,  we   can  draw  a  parallel  as  well  between  persuasion  as  a  cornerstone  of   the  entire  political  system  and  the  necessity  for  providing  each   citizen  a  voice  in  that  system,  regardless  of  the  issue  or  political   alignment     § Both  advertising  and  public  relations  parallel  the  theory  of   journalism,  which  is  based  on  the  belief  that  the  public  good  is  being   served  through  the  free  expression  of  its  practice   § However,  public  relations  must  admit  to  sharing  with  advertising  the   time  honored  goal  of  persuasion  through  communication—a  goal  not   in  the  least  ignoble     • Media  Loyalties   o Loyalty  can  be  defined  as  “faithfulness”  or  “allegiance”.  Loyalty  also   implies  that  something  is  owed  to  that  to  which  we  are  loyal   o Loyalty  in  the  News  Media     § Once  we  concede  that  the  implied  goal  of  the  news  media  is  to  inform   us,  it  is  easier  to  understand  where  their  loyalties  should  lie     § The  reality  of  economic  viability  will  certainly  intrude  on  loyalty  to   the  public,  but  for  our  purposes  here  let  us  assume  that,  in  an  ideal   sense,  first  loyalty  goes  to  the  public  receiving  the  info     § Value  that  most  journalists  place  on  autonomy    practically  insures   that  they  will  consider  the  public  as  their  number  one  claimant     o Loyalty  in  Adverting  and  Public  Relations   § Both  advertising  and  public  relations  are  client  based  occupations   § They  serve  clients  rather  than  the  general  public     § Advocate  usually  acts  as  an  agent  of  the  client,  performing  some   service  on  the  client’s  behalf  or  representing  the  client’s  interests     §  Advocates  are  expected  to  be  subjective     § to  the  advocate  falls  the  job  of  bringing  skills  of  persuasion  to  bear   through  methods  and  on  issues  often  predetermined  by  the  client   • Forming  Ethical  Standards  for  the  Mass  Media     o Shared  standards  are  not  possible  if  we  look  at  the  various  mass  media  as   having  different  goals  and  differing  sets  of  obligations  to  their   constituencies     o Whether  they  are  shared  or  not,  ethical  standards  of  any  type  will  require   a  devotion  to  ethical  action,  and  ethical  action  often  comes  into  conflict   with  our  instinct  to  act  in  our  own  self  interests   o Tendency  toward  egoism  is  manifested  at  every  level  of  our  lives  and   reflected  not  only  in  our  actions  but  also  in  our  deep  seated  sympathy  for   the  tenents  of  self  interest     o Important  to  understand  ethical  standards  from  at  least  three   perspectives:  the  personal,  the  professional,  and  the  societal     o Less  likely  to  act  self  interestedly     o Since  we  tend  to  assimilate  ethical  principles  at  each  of  these  levels,  we   cannot  truly  separate  them  nor  should  we     o We  must  learn  how  and  when  the  standards  of  each  level  apply     • Values,  Ideals,  and  Principles     o When  we  talk  about  believing  in  the  sanctity  of  life,  we  are  expressing  a   personal  value     o Values:     § Values  as  those  things  that  reflect  our  presuppositions  about  social   life  and  human  nature     § Values  cover  a  broad  range  of  possibilities,  such  as  aesthetic  values     (something  is  harmonious  or  pleasing),  professional  values   (innovation  and  promptness),  logical  values  (consistency  and   competency),  sociocultural  values  (thrift  and  hard  work),  and  moral   values  (honesty  and  nonviolence)     § Values  are  also  further  defined  by  philosophers  as  being  either   instrumental  or  intrinsic     § Instrumental  value  is  one  that  leads  to  something  of  even  more  value     § Money  usually  is  seen  has  having  instrumental  value,  because   possessing  it  leads  to  other  things  of  greater  value,  including   happiness   § Other  values,  such  as  happiness,  are  said  to  possess  intrinsic  value— they  are  sought  after  because  they  are  ends  in  and  of  themselves,  and   don’t  necessarily  lead  to  greater  values     o Ideals:   § Ideal  as  a  notion  of  excellence  a  goal  that  is  thought  to  bring  about   greater  harmony  to  ourselves  and  to  others   § Our  culture  respects  ideals  such  as  tolerance,  compassion,  loyalty,   forgiveness,  peace,  justice,  fairness,  and  respect  for  persons   § Ideals  often  come  into  conflict  with  each  other     o Principles:     § Principles  are  those  guidelines  we  derive  from  values  and  ideals  and   are  precursors  to  codified  rules   § Usually  stated  in  positive  (prescriptive)  or  negative  (proscriptive)   terms   § Ideals  values  and  principles  of  the  media  will  differ  according  to  the   differing  goals  and  loyalties  of  each     § We  begin  to  establish  principles,  we  are  committing  ourselves  to  a   course  of  action  based  on  our  values  and  ideals     § When  we  act  ethically,  we  typically  act  on  principle   § Principle  can  serve  as  a  guideline  for  ethical  action     o Normative  Principles  in  Applied  Ethics   § Personal  benefit:  acknowledge  the  extent  to  which  an  action   produces  beneficial  consequences  for  the  individual  in  question     § Social  benefit:  acknowledge  the  extent  to  which  an  action  produces   beneficial  consequences  for  society     § Principle  of  benevolence:  help  those  in  need     § Principle  of  paternalism:  assist  others  in  pursuing  their  best  interests   when  they  cannot  do  so  themselves     § Principle  of  harm:  do  not  harm  others   § Principle  of  honesty:  do  not  deceive  others   § Principle  of  lawfulness:  do  not  violate  the  law     § Principle  of  autonomy:  acknowledge  a  person’s  freedom  over  his/her   actions  or  physical  body     § Principle  of  justice:  acknowledge  a  person’s  right  to  due  process,  fiar   compensation  for  harm  done,  and  fair  distribution  of  benefits   § Rights:  acknowledge  a  person’s  rights  to  life,  info,  privacy,  free   expression,  and  safety.   o Policies:   § Policy  standards  are  not  intractable;  rather  they  serve  as  indicators   of  our  values  and  principles     § Policies,  even  ethical  policies,  must  be  amendable  to  change  in  order   to  remain  applicable  to  an  often-­‐changing  environment   § Key  to  use  policy  standard  as  a  default  position,  subject  to  eval  as   warranted  but  acceptable  at  face  value  in  most  cases   § Keep  in  mind  that  policies  are  usually  developed,  not  for  entire   industries  but  for  individual  entities  within  those  industries     • Professional  Codes  and  the  Law     o Informal:   § Ideals     § Values     § Principles   o Formal:   § Principles   § Codes   § Policies   § Laws   o Professional  codes  tend  to  establish  a  general  goal  or  ideal,  or  define  the   ideal  practitioner,  and  generally  indicate  how  to  attain  that  goal  or  become   that  practitioner.  Additionally,  codes  usually  indicate  to  whom  the   practioner  is  obligated  and  how     • Can  the  Media  be  Ethical?   o The  accepted  decision  making  norm  for  most  media  is  situational—every   determination  is  made  on  a  case  by  case  basis,  rendering  consistency   ractically  moot.  The  result  is  that  the  reputation  of  the  media  has   increasingly  suffered  in  the  eyes  of  the  public     o Single  greatest  roadblock  preventing  the  media  from  ever  coneding  to   constraint  is  their  abiding  belief  in  their  right  to  do  anything  they  want   free  from  outside  interference   o Rights  are  best  served  when  tempered  by  obligation     o Moral  dimension  would  demand  conduct  effected  with  reciprocity  and   governed  by  civility,  respect,  and  affection  for  others     o Key  to  moral  decision  making  is  to  understand  the  interrelationship   inherent  in  the  actions  of  the  mass  media,  and  to  consider  the  potential   outcome  of  those  actions  from  a  perspective  infused  with  care  for  others   and  a  sense  of  obligation  to  serve  rather  than  to  prevail       Chapter  2  Moral  Claimants,  Obligation,  and  Social  Responsibility     • Whenever  we  make  moral  decisions,  we  affect  other  people   • Anyone  who  is  affected  by  our  decisions  or  has  some  effect  on  us  could  be   considered  a  stakeholder—or  in  the  lang  of  ethics,  a  moral  claimant.     • Four  primacy  claimant  groups:     o Our  clients/customers   o The  organization  for  which  we  work   o The  profession  of  which  we  are  a  part     o And  society  as  a  whole     • Order  in  which  we  address  these  groups  will  depend  on  a  number  of   variables,  including:     o The  media  job  we  hold  (in  journalism,  advertising,  or  public  relations   o The  environment  in  which  we  are  having  to  make  a  moral  decision   (political,  economic,  and  social  factors  included)     o The  nature  of  the  decision  itself   o And  the  constraints  we  feel  as  a  result  of  these  other  variables     • The  danger  is  that  because  of  these  constraints,  we  are  more  likely  to  honor   our  obligations  to  those  who  most  affect  us  rather  than  the  other  way  around     • Because  of  our  reliance  on  clients  in  public  relations  and  advertising,  the   tendency  is  to  consider  them  our  primary  claimants,  sometimes  neglecting   those  whom  we  affect  directly  with  our  message—our  target  publics  or   audience   • If  we  understand  our  functional  relationships  with  these  various   constituencies,  we  can  then  begin  to  sort  out  our  ethical  obligations  to  them     • We  tend  to  avoid  actions  that  result  in  negative  consequences  for  others,  and   to  promote  actions  that  bear  favorable  consequences     • Relationships  among  Media  and  their  Claimants     o Several  identifiable  relationships  among  parties  based  on  level  of   dependent     § Symmetrically  independent   • the  parties  are  independent  enough  that  each  could   survive  the  loss  of  the  other   • allows  for  extreme  flexibility,  yet  may  allow  hedging  in   the  areas  of  obligation  and  duty  since  loss  of,  say,  Party   B  is  not  crucial  to  Party  A’s  survival  and  vice  versa     • ex:  printing  facility  that  runs  the  local  weekly  on  its   presses  is  dependent  on  the  newspaper  for  part  of  its   business.  Likewise  the  paper  is  dependent  on  the   printer.  However  both  the  printer  and  the  paper  could   survive  without  each  other  if  necessary     § asymmetrically  dependent     • implies  that  although  Party  B  may  be  dependent  on   Party  A  for  survival,  Party  A  may  not  be  dependent  on   Party  B.  This  allows  for  some  leverage  and  potential   coercion  on  the  part  of  Party  A  as  well  as  hedging  in  the   areas  of  obligation  and  duty     • ex:  in  order  to  save  money,  a  company  may  cut   employee  salaries,  increase  work  demands,  or   otherwise  mistreat  employees  who  may  be  completely   reliant  on  the  company  for  a  job.  This  would  be  hedging   on  the  company’s  obligation  to  its  employees     § interdependent     • two  or  more  parties  engaged  in  this  type  of  coexistence   must  reach  mutual  understanding  and  compromise  in   order  to  survive   • the  relationship  between  the  entertainment  “new”   industry  and  the  celebrities  that  they  cover  is  this  type   of  association.  Neither  the  industry  nor  the  stars  it   covers  can  survive  without  each  other     • Strong  and  Weak  Claims     o We  are  typically  more  obligated  to  those  upon  which  we  depend  for   major  support     § Ex:  TV  station  depends  on  its  owner  for  startup  capital,   without  which  it  could  not  survive   § Have  strong  functional  claims  on  each  other’s  actions     § The  owner  has  a  stronger  functional  claim  on  the  actions  of  the   station     o We  are  typically  more  obligated  to  those  with  whom  we  are  mutually   dependent     § Ex:  nonprofit  community  may  use  the  local  TV  station  as  an   outlet  for  announcements  and  for  news  coverage;  however  the   station  may  choose  what  to  run  and  what  not  to  run     o We  are  typically  less  obligated  to  those  that  are  totally  independent   from  us  and  from  whom  we  are  totally  independent     § Ex:  television  station  in  a  given  area  do  not  rely  particularly  on   each  other  and,  in  fact,  actively  compete  for  the  same   advertisers  and  audiences.  Their  functional  claims  on  each   other  are  weaker     o The  notion  of  claims  is  based  on  the  necessity  to  maintain  certain   relationships  over  others   o Entirely  functional     o Any  ranking  will  be  made  purely  on  an  amoral  basis  no  ethical  values   are  applied     o Nature  of  functional  obligations  is  that  they  carry  no  moral  weight     o From  an  ethical  perspective,  it  would  seem  that  the  party  with  the   most  power  in  a  relationship  is  more  morally  obligated  if  for  no  other   reason  than  it  has  most  of  the  power  and  therefore  more  potential  to   harm  the  weaker  party     o Although  he  weaker  party  is  certainly  obligated  its  position  as  the   dependent  party  puts  it  at  a  natural  disadvantage  and  somewhat  at   the  mercy  of  the  more  powerful  party     • Ethical  Applications     o Each  decision  with  ethical  implications  brings  with  it  certain   obligations     o Need  to  consider  the  broader  scope  of  moral  obligation     o Must  also  consider  consequences     o Must  recognize  both  our  functional  relationships  and  our  ethical   obligations     • Nature  of  Obligation   o Obligation  usually  implies  a  bond,  either  legal,  social,  or  moral—an   owing  of  something  to  someone  or  something     o Obligation  is  roughly  synonymous  with  the  term  “duty”     o Also  have  “natural”  duties  to  others  simply  because  they  are  people   who  could  be  helped  or  harmed  by  our  actions     o We  also  are  obligated  merely  by  being  members  of  human  society     o Obligations  arise  not  only  from  general  social  relationships  but  also   from  relationships  described  by  our  roles  and  functions  in  life,   including  our  jobs     o We  are  obligated  explicitly  and  implicitly  in  our  relationships  with   others  we  come  in  contact  with  through  our  daily  work     • Ross’s  Moral  Duties     o Moral  philosopher  William  David  Ross  defined  six  areas  he  believed   all  human  beings  would  recognize,  in  one  form  or  another,  as  being   morally  building   o Duties  of  fidelity   § If  you  promise  to  perform  some  act  or  to  abstain  from   performing  some  act,  then  you  are  obliged  to  perform  that  act   or  to  abstain  from  performing  the  act     § Also  includes  duties  of  reparation—if  you  perform  a  wrong   action  with  respect  to  another  person,  you  are  obliged  to  undo   the  wrong     o Duties  of  gratitude   § If  any  person  performs  some  service  for  you,  then  you  ave   some  obligation  to  the  person  who  performed  the  favor   o Duties  of  justice   § If  any  person  merits  a  distribution  of  something  (typically   something  that  will  result  in  pleasure,  happiness,  or   satisfaction)  and  you  can  bring  that  distribution  about  (to   prevent  an  unmerited  distribution),  then  you  are  obliged  to   distribute  what  is  merited  (or  prevent/withhold  what  is  not   merited)   § Can  often  mean  giving  greater  consideration  to  the  claim  of   those  who  deserve  it  rather  than  to  those  who  demand  it,   regardless  of  their  position  or  power     o Duties  of  beneficence   § If  you  can  make  some  person  better  with  respect  to  their  state   of  existence,  then  you  are  obliged  to  do  so     o Duties  of  self  improvement   § If  you  are  in  a  position  to  avoid  hurting  someone,  then  you  are   obliged  to  do  so     o There  is  typicaly  an  imbalance  in  obligation  in  favor  of  stronger   claimants  we  need  to  be  particularly  careful  to  offset  this  tendency  by   honoring  all  obligations,  especially  those  to  weaker  parties     o Key  is  to  remember  that  we  are  tied  to  our  stakeholders  by  more  than   just  economic  or  political  linkages.  We  are  tied  to  them  socially,  and   social  lies  imply  obligation     o We  cannot  avoid  the  likelihood  that  others  recognize  these  same   obligations  and  are  very  likely  to  hold  us  accountable  when  we  do  not   honor  them     • The  Libertarian  Approach     o Libertarianism  holds  that  freedom  should  be  unbounded;  there   should  be  no  restrictions  on  an  individual’s  freedom  to  do,  what  he  or   she  please     o Modern  journalism  maintains  a  very  strong  flavor  of  libertarianism  in   its  refusal  to  bow  to  outside  pressure,  especially  governmental   pressure     o This  thinking  is  a  reflection  of  the  “invisible  hand”  theory  of  Adam   Smith,  who  pointed  out  that  the  duty  of  a  capitalistic  endeavor  was  to   make  a  profit  and  remain  viable,  for  by  doing  so  the  rest  of  society   was  duty  served     o Modern  conservative  economists  echo  this  sentiment  when  they  state   that  the  job  of  business  is  not  only  to  survive  but  also  to  do  well   o The  modern  journalist  gathers  the  news  and  reports  it  with  as  much   objectivity  as  can  be  mustered     o Objectivity  is  the  mainstay  of  a  libertarian  press   o The  belief  that  the  press  should  not  owe  allegiance  to  anyone  or   anything  but  itself  is  a  very  powerful  one     o A  press  encumbered  by  debt  is  not,  by  definition,  a  free  press   • The  Social  Responsibility  Approach     o The  idea  of  social  responsibility  developed  originally  as  a  means  of   indicting  American  business,  whose  sense  of  obligation  to  the  public   was  decidedly  lacking  in  the  early  part  of  the  20  century     o Social  responsibility  model,  org  are  seen  as  operating  at  the  behest  of   the  public;  thus,  their  rights  are  really  privileges—and  privileges   come  only  at  the  expense  of  reciprocation  in  the  form  of  agreed  upon   responsibility     o An  org  should  perform  its  basic  task   o Beyond  that  I  should  take  care  of  any  potential  consequences  of  its   primary  task,  such  as  cleaning  up  pollution  it  has  caused,  or  being  a   good  employer,  or  responding  to  complaints   o Orgs  may  move  into  the  area  of  general  societal  concerns  such  as   literacy,  disease  prevention,  hunger,  etc.     o Grunig  proposes  that  the  first  two  categories  of  responsibility  are   naturally  blinding  on  all  orgs.  Anything  less  would  be  unacceptable  to   most  of  society     o Third  category—more  difficult  to  measure  for  effectiveness;  and   although  orgs  would  certainly  be  encouraged  to  take  on  larger  societal   issues,  most  citizens  wouldn’t  fault  them  if  they  did  not.   o 1942:     § role  of  the  press  in  our  society  was  formally  recognized  as  one   including  both  rights  and  responsibilities   § commission  was  established,  originally  by  Henry  R.  Luce  of   Time  and  later  by  the  Encyclopedia  Britannica,  to  assess  the   state  of  journalism   § Robert  Hutchins,  chancellor  of  the  University  of  Chicago,  was   appointed  head  of  the  commission  composed  of  13  members   from  industry  and  education     § The  Hutchins  Commission  of  Freedom  of  the  Press  studied  the   sticky  questions  of  a  “free  and  responsible  press”  and   presented  its  report  in  1947.-­‐-­‐>  Commission  stressed  media   should  not  only  do  their  job  of  informing  the  citizenry,  but  also   involve  themselves  in  the  well  being  of  society  as  a  whole       § Since  that  time,  it  has  been  assumed  that  a  certain  level  of   responsibility  is  owed  to  society  by  the  news  media     § There  is  a  constant  tension  in  journalism  between  giving  the   public  what  they  need  as  active  citizens  and  what  they  want,   often  just  out  of  curiosity     § The  decline  in  the  public  desire  for  so  called  “hard  news”  in   favor  of  “soft  news”  (often  entertainment-­‐oriented)  and  the   news  media’s  response  of  softening  the  news  overall  may  be  an   indication  of  how  strong  the  economic  imperative  impinges  on   the  concept  of  social  responsibility     § User  created  content  is  another  indication  that  the  media  are   attempting  to  give  the  public  what  they  want,  even  if  involves   the  public  creating  its  own  news   § Further  indications  of  media  responsibility  have  surfaced  in   the  concept  of  civic  or  public  journalism—a  modeling  which   the  news  media  become  actively  involved  in  the  well  being  of   the  community  in  which  they  operate     § Christopher  Lasch  argued  that  the  press  today  has  abdicated   its  role  as  a  proper  forum  for  public  debate  by  subscribing  to   the  notions  that  information  alone  is  the  proper  product  of  the   media     § Arguments  in  favor  of  a  press  free  from  outside  control  are   likewise  strong   § By  permitting  or  expecting  a  less  than  objective  account   consumers  of  news  increase  their  own  burden  of  gathering  the   facts  for  themselves     § Obligation  implies  outside  pressure,  and  we  have  already  seen   that  the  disparate  media  are  obligated  by  the  very  nature  of   their  jobs   § Although  the  press  may  be  obligated  increasingly  toward   promoting  the  public  welfare,  there  is  a  danger  that  such   leanings  may  result  in  the  news  media  becoming  more  like   expected      


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