1st Edition

Ethical Journalism Adopting the Ethics of Care

By Joe Mathewson Copyright 2022
    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    198 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book makes the case for the news media to take the lead in combatting key threats to American society including racial injustice, economic disparity, and climate change by adopting an "ethics of care" in reporting practices.

    Examining how traditional news coverage of race, economics and climate change has been dedicated to straightforward facts, the author asserts that journalism should now respond to societal needs by adopting a moral philosophy of the "ethics of care," opening the door to empathetic yet factual and fair coverage of news events, with a goal to move public opinion to the point that politicians are persuaded to take effective action. The book charts a clear path for how this style of ethics can be applied by today’s journalists, tracing the emergence of this empathy-based ethics from feminist philosophy in the 1980s. It ultimately urges ethical news organizations to adopt the ethics of care, based on the human emotion prioritized by Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, and to pursue a more pro-active, solutions-seeking coverage of current events.

    This is an invaluable text for students and academics in the fields of journalism ethics, media ethics and media law, as well as for media professionals looking for a fresh perspective on practicing ethical journalism.


    Section I: This is unacceptable

    Chapter 1: 20th-century Journalism Ethics Were Good for America, But No Longer Suffice

    Chapter 2: Racial inequity is still pervasive and ominous

    Chapter 3: Economic Disparity Grows and Grows

    Chapter 4: Climate Change Advances on Us

    Chapter 5: Democracy Itself Hangs in the Balance

    Chapter 6: Politicians today won’t compromise, producing government gridlock

    Section II: Discomfiting Realities Are Also Opportunities

    Chapter 7: The Ethics of Care Nicely Complements Existing Codes of Ethics

    Chapter 8: Current Codes of Ethics Render High Professional Standards That Endure, and Should

    Chapter 9: The Bright Side of the Financial Pressure on the Media

    Chapter 10: Not-for-profit Journalism Makes Sense (if not money)


    Section III: The Road to Success Redefined

    Chapter 11: Ethical Media Continue to Drive Public Discourse

    Chapter 12: Coverage of Conscience Coincides With Journalists’ Motivations

    Chapter 13: The Caring Newsroom - Diverse, Purposeful, Committed to Results







    Joe Mathewson covered the Supreme Court for The Wall Street Journal and practiced law in Chicago. Since 1997, he has taught business journalism and journalism law and ethics at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. He’s the author of Law and Ethics for Today’s Journalist: A Quick Guide (Routledge) and The Supreme Court and the Press: The Indispensable Conflict.