When Should Journalists Put Down the Mic and Lend Aid?

When is it a moral imperative for journalists covering hurricanes and other disasters to intervene to help victims, and when is it mere grandstanding?

Does Watching Video Hurt Our Moral Judgments About the News?

We assume that in news, streaming video is always better than still images, but is that true? Video can undermine our best moral judgments by making it hard to access memory.

Digital Media Lay Bare the Ethical Hazards of Political News

Frustrated over the state of political journalism? So are journalists working amid industry-wide economic anxiety and reflecting on ethical lapses.

Advertisers Still Suffer From 'Moral Myopia'

Why do we see so much ethically questionable advertising and marketing -- even when industry groups have embraced their own robust ethics codes? One answer may be that ad workers say client satisfaction is their only goal. They claim to be professional but don't yet understand that the term implies a public trust and public service. This is 'moral myopia.'

News stories with the power of empathy

Depicting physical pain and discomfort may make for compelling journalism, but it also could undermine audiences' empathetic responses and perpetuate what neuroscientists call the 'empathy gap.' Instead, efforts to capture people's emotional suffering may be more likely to evoke empathy, even though that's much trickier for reporters trained to 'show, don't tell.'

Brian Williams, Journalism, and Celebrity Culture

When journalists start living in a celebrity bubble, bad things can happen. Just ask Brian Williams. His downfall reminds us of the malleability of memory, and it also poses a cautionary tale to all journalists, particularly to the trend in journalism education to promote "entrepreneurial" journalism -- teaching aspiring journalists to cultivate their own "brand".

Why Is Curiosity Critical in Good Journalism? Just Ask!

'Curiosity killed the cat; lack of curiosity killed the reporter,' said a journalist. Psychologists call it 'need for cognition,' and high amounts underlie all great journalism. But rather a trait, it should be seen as a muscle that requires use for good development. It may even be linked with broader traits such as openness and extraversion, according to one recent study.

Trustworthiness in Digital Journalism

Digital news sites are finding great ways to cultivate audience engagement and to help people find the signal in all the noise. But to cultivate genuine trustworthiness, digital journalists will need to launch Transparency 2.0 on a major scale, harnessing new technologies to explain why they do what they do.

Lucrative 'Native Ads' Challenge PR Ethics

The shop talk over 'sponsored content' is primarily all about what PR practitioners can help their clients get away with. That's not ethical leadership. While paying lip service to transparency in embedding ads into news content, the practice arguably conflicts with PR professionalism -- to say nothing of the threat it can pose to news credibility.

The Face of Moral Courage in Media

For those who have deeply internalized moral values, the decision to shape their behavior by those values isn't really a choice. Internalized values come to be linked with their self-identity. Journalists who risk prison time rather than break a promise to a confidential source arguably display moral courage.

What do Ethical Media Professionals Look Like?

In media ethics, the moral lapses and scandals get all the press. But the moral psychology of media exemplars shows us a profile of journalists and PR practitioners who are intent on avoiding harm, respectful of everyone they work with, and who are motivated by social justice.