1st Edition

Virtue in Media The Moral Psychology of Excellence in News and Public Relations

By Patrick Lee Plaisance Copyright 2015
    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    250 Pages
    by Routledge

    This work establishes a contemporary profile of virtue in professional media practice. Author Patrick Lee Plaisance examines the experiences, perspectives, moral stances, and demographic data of two dozen professional exemplars in journalism and public relations. Plaisance conducted extensive personal "life story" interviews and collected survey data to assess the exemplars’ personality traits, ethical ideologies, moral reasoning skills and perceived workplace climate.

    The chosen professionals span the geographic United States, and include Pulitzer Prize winners and trendsetting PR corporate executives, ranging from rising stars to established veterans. Their thoughts, opinions, and experiences provide readers with an insider’s perspective on the thought process of decision makers in media.

    The unique observations in this volume will be stimulating reading for practitioners, researchers, and students in journalism and public relations. Virtue in Media establishes a key benchmark, and sets an agenda for future research into the moral psychology of media professionals.

    Introduction  One – Moral Psychology: The Grand Convergence  Two – Design of an Exemplar Study  Three – A Profile of Media Exemplars By The Numbers  Four – Patterns That Point to Virtue  Five – Professionalism and Public Service  Six – Moral Courage  Seven – Humility and Hubris  Eight – Crucibles of Experience  Conclusion


    Patrick Lee Plaisance is Professor of Journalism at Colorado State University. His research focuses on media ethics theory, moral psychology, journalism values, and media sociology, and he teaches media ethics, reporting and communication theory. Prior to his academic career, he worked for nearly 15 years as a journalist at numerous American newspapers.

    "Plaisance...does an admirable job of expanding understanding of journalism and public relations ethics. Reinforcing the Aristotelian approach to media ethics, this study of moral exemplars in the two professions challenges traditional approaches...Plaisance's approach has pedagogical implications: it suggests that at least part of a media ethics curriculum should involve reading about worthy practitioners. This superb book opens interesting avenues to the examination of how practitioners, having good motives, can make nuanced and well-grounded ethical decisions...Summing Up: Highly recommended."
    - J. L. Aucoin, University of South Alabama, in CHOICE.

    "Virtue ethics is of historic importance, but only episodic in media studies. A new era has begun; this erudite book gives virtue ethics gravitas. Supremely well-informed in the history of ideas, rigorous in research design, brilliant in interpretation, Virtue in Media is a difference maker. Plaisance proves that philosophy and social science are not a zero-sum game. He is a master thinker and exceptional writer—precise vocabulary, phosphorescent narrative, and clear as a bell in theory. Destined to be a classic in media ethics, Virtue in Media has the enduring qualities of Hutchins’ Free and Responsible Press, Nagel’s View from Nowhere, and Dewey’s Public and Its Problems."
    - Clifford G. Christians, University of Illinois.