Mixed Media : Moral Distinctions in Advertising, Public Relations, and Journalism book cover
3rd Edition

Mixed Media
Moral Distinctions in Advertising, Public Relations, and Journalism

ISBN 9781138700987
Published September 6, 2017 by Routledge
352 Pages

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Book Description

Mixed Media offers students of journalism, advertising, and public relations the tools for making ethical and moral decisions within their professional disciplines. Covering both ethical theory and its practical application to the media professions, Mixed Media serves as an indispensable starting point for those seeking to develop an ethical framework with regard to mass media. Each media industry is covered with specific attention paid to relevant ethical decision-making approaches involving primary concerns such as truth telling, constituent obligations, persuasion versus advocacy, and respect for the consumers of public communication. In addition, the book covers new media and how ethics affect such concepts as social media, word-of-mouth advertising, and the impact of the digital revolution. And, new to this edition, recent concerns in areas such as satire and the dilemma of free speech versus constraint are discussed, as well as the quandry of native advertising in journalism. Readers will come away with a greater appreciation for moral philosophy and theory as a foundation for decision making, and will develop a personal "yardstick" by which to measure their decisions.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: What Is Media Ethics?

Ethics and the Act of Communication

Ethics or Morals?

The Media and Morality

Moral Excuses

Can Personal Ethics Become Professional Ethics?

Media Similarities: The Common Threads

Media Differences: A Coat of Many Colors

Forming Ethical Standards for the Mass Media

Can the Media be Ethical?

Chapter 2: Moral Claimants, Obligation, and Social Responsibility

Relationships among Media and Their Claimants

Functional versus Moral Obligation

The Nature of Obligation

The Libertarian Approach

The Social Responsibility Approach

What Does It All Mean?

Chapter 3: The Media and Professionalism

Central Features of Professionalism

Secondary Features of Professionalism

Are the Media Professions?

Service to Society

The Professional–Client Relationship

Ethics Codes

Profession versus Professionalism



Chapter 4: Introduction

Why Don’t We Just Act Ethically?

Why Can’t We All Be Right? The Dilemma of Relativism

Why We Reason the Way We Do

Social Contract Theory: The Debate Between the One and the Many

Chapter 5: The Argument over Means and Ends

Consequential Ethical Theories

Duty-Based Ethical Theories

Chapter 6: Virtue and Caring

Virtue Ethics

The Ethic of Care

Chapter 7: Free Speech

History of Free Speech in the United States

John Milton and the Marketplace of Ideas

The Liberty Theory

Free Speech and the Individual versus Society

Liberty-Limiting Principles

Satire and Freedom of Expression: A Special Case

What Does It All Mean?

Chapter 8: A Checklist for Ethical Decision Making

How to Choose Applicable Theories

Organizing Your Approach

The Checklist

An Example

What Does It All Mean?



Chapter 9: Ethical Issues Common across the Media

To Tell the Truth

Truth as a Legal Concept

Truth and the Act of Communication

Can We Tell Truth From Fiction?

Avoiding Harm

What Does It All Mean?

Chapter 10: Ethical Issues Common to Both Public Relations and Advertising

What’s the Difference between PR and Advertising?

Public Relations, Advertising, and the First Amendment

Ethics and Persuasion

Propaganda versus Persuasion

What Does It All Mean?

Chapter 11: Ethics and Public Relations

What Is Public Relations?

Ethical Approaches Specific to Public Relations

Special Issues in Public Relations Ethics

What Does It All Mean?

Chapter 12: Ethics and Advertising

What Is Advertising?

Ethical Approaches Specific to Advertising

Special Issues in Advertising Ethics

What Does It All Mean?

Chapter 13: Ethics in News Journalism

The Broad Issues in News Journalism

Ethical Approaches Specific to News Journalism

Special Issues in Journalism Ethics

What Does It All Mean?


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Tom Bivins is the John L. Hulteng Chair in Media Ethics in the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon where he is the head of the Graduate Certificate Program in Communication Ethics.