Virtue ethics in Media Ethics and Governance

Virtue ethics is the next approach that we will cover. This brand of ethics does not aim at establishing codifiable universal principles that would amount to a decision procedure for determining what the right action would be in any given case, but rather focuses on the role of virtues and the character of a person. It has its origins in ancient Greek philosophy, in the thought of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. A key question in virtue ethics is how to mould individual character based on models of virtue, or to put it more simply: How can we become a ‘good person’? (Athanassoulis, n.d.; Plaisance, 2014: 24). One should strive to develop a ‘virtuous character’. This entails a much broader perspective than the other two approaches, which focus on specific ethical dilemmas that need to be solved. A virtue may be considered a character trait, but it is more than this: […]

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Consequentialism and Utilitarianism in Media Ethics & Governance

One of the principal ethical philosophies is consequentialism, a class of normative ethical theories. This theory can be seen as one of the leading moral perspectives in Western society, and it has dominated media ethics during the last century. As its name suggests, consequentialism holds that the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. One of the philosophies within consequentialism – besides several classic variations – is utilitarianism. Utilitarianism is a theory in normative ethics which holds that the best moral action is the one that maximizes utility. Utility in this context is happiness, or pleasure. In short, this is about ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’. By asking what will bring the greatest amount of happiness to […]

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Ethics & Morals in Media Ethics & Governance

When discussing communication ethics, it is important to understand exactly what is meant by ‘ethics’. Sometimes, people confuse ethics with behaving in accordance with social conventions, religious beliefs and the law. And, sometimes the terms ethics and morals are used interchangeably, because they clearly are both related to “right” and “wrong” conduct. However, they are not the same thing at all! Ethics refer to rules provided by an external source. They are governed by professional and legal guidelines within a particular time and place. Ethics are all about how we deal with ‘grey areas’. Ethics therefore refer to the value judgments we make on bigger and smaller matters, in communication as well as in other fields. A concrete example of ethics are codes of conduct in workplaces. Lawyers, policemen, and doctors all have to follow an ethical code laid down by their profession, regardless of their own feelings or preferences. […]

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Reliability Measurements in Research Methods

Reliability Reliability is equated with a measuring instrument’s consistency or stability. If the same scale is administered repeatedly to the same individuals and it yields roughly the same set of responses, the scale is said to be reliable. For example, if you and your classmates were to take one of your course examinations several times and the average class grades were approximately the same each time, the test probably a reliable, measure of the class’s mastery of the materials covered by the question. on the examination. However, if the class average varies considerably from one test to another, the examination is probably unreliable. Random error and reliability Unreliable test scores result from random errors of measurement, produced by factors such as fatigue or carelessness. Random errors result responses that do not reflect a person’s “true’ knowledge or beliefs about the concepts beinz measured. Applied to a course examination random errors […]

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Information-Processing Theory

Information-Processing Theory Information processing theory Theory that uses mechanistic analogies to describe and interpret how people deal with all the stimuli they receive the elaboration likelihood model. Drawing on the same metaphors as systems theory (Chapter 7), information processing theory uses mechanistic analogies to describe and interpret how each of us takes in and makes sense of the flood of information our senses encounter every moment of each day. It assumes that individuals operate like complex biocomputers with certain built-in information-handling capacities and strategies. Each day we are exposed to vast quantities of sensory information. We filter this information so only a small portion of it ever reaches our conscious mind. Only a tiny fraction of this information is singled out for attention and processing, and we finally store a tiny amount of this in long-term memory. We are not so much information handlers as information avoiders—we have developed sophisticated mechanisms […]

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News Production Research Theory- Strengths & Weakness

News production research The study of how the institutional routines of news production inevitably produce distorted or biased content Lance Bennett (1988, 2005a) surveyed news production research literature and summarized four ways in which current news production practices distort or bias news content: Personalized news: 2. Dramatized news: 3. Fragmented news: 4. Normalized news: Objectivity Rituals In news production research, the term for professional practices designed to ensure objectivity that are implicitly biased toward support of the status quo Strengths Weakness 1. Provides recommendations for potentially useful changes in news production practices   2. Raises important questions about routine news production practices 3. Can be used to study production of many different types of news 1. Focuses on news production practices but has not empirically demonstrated their effect   2. Has pessimistic view of journalists and their social role 3. Has been ignored and rejected as impractical by practicing journalists

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Media Intrusion Theory

Media Intrusion Theory Media intrusion theory Idea that media have intruded into and taken over politics to the degree that politics have become subverted Social capital The influence potential leaders develop as a result of membership and participation in social groups Strengths Weakness 1. Provides basis for social change   2. Raises important questions about operation of news media organizations 1. Focuses on operation of news media but has not empirically demonstrated its effect   2. Has overly pessimistic view of news media and their social role 3. Focuses too much on intrusion into politics 4. Is based on elite pluralism assumptions

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