Visual Ethics : A Guide for Photographers, Journalists, and Media Makers book cover
2nd Edition

Visual Ethics
A Guide for Photographers, Journalists, and Media Makers

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 1, 2022
ISBN 9781032151908
April 1, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
224 Pages 46 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

An indispensable guide to visual ethics, this book addresses the need for critical thinking and ethical behavior among students and professionals responsible for a variety of mass media visual messages.

Written for an ever-growing discipline, authors Paul Martin Lester, Stephanie A. Martin, and Martin Rodden-Smith give serious ethical consideration to the complex field of visual communication. The book covers the definitions and uses of six philosophies, analytical methods, cultural awareness, visual reporting, documentary, citizen journalists, advertising, public relations, typography, graphic design, data visualizations, cartoons, motion pictures, television, computers and the web, augmented and virtual reality, social media, the editing process, and the need for empathy. At the end of each chapter are case studies for further analysis and interviews with thoughtful practitioners in each field of study, including Steven Heller and Nigel Holmes. This second edition has also been fully revised and updated throughout to reflect on the impact of new and emerging technologies.

This book is an important resource for students of photojournalism, photography, filmmaking, media and communication, and visual communication, as well as professionals working in these fields.

Table of Contents

Preface: Welcome to Your Personal Visual Ethics Journey  1. Philosophical Underpinnings for Visual Ethics  2. Visual Ethics Analytical Procedures  3. Cultural Awareness and Visual Ethics  4. Visual Reporter Ethics  5. Documentary Ethics  6. The Ethics of Citizen Journalists  7. Advertising Ethics  8. Public Relations Ethics 9. Typography Ethics  10. Graphic Design Ethics  11. Data Visualization Ethics  12. Cartoon Ethics  13. Screened Media Ethics  14. Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality Ethics  15. Social Media Ethics  16. Editor Ethics  Conclusion: Let Empathy Be Your Guide

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Paul Martin Lester is a Professor of Instruction for the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication at the University of Texas at Dallas and a Professor Emeritus from the Department of Communications at California State University, Fullerton. More information can be found at:

Stephanie A. (Sam) Martin is an Associate Professor of Political Communication at Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University. She has written or edited three books, most prominently Decoding the Digital Church (2021). Her research has also been published in top journals including the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric and Public Affairs and Visual Communication Quarterly.

Martin Smith-Rodden is an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Strategic Communication at Ball State University. He was a professional visual journalist for 35 years. Much of his research focuses on 21st century skills for visual storytelling, development of evidence-based practices, topics in visual ethics, diversity, and inclusion in the field, as well as solutions-based and advocacy photojournalism.


"The second edition of Visual Ethics updates our understanding of this exciting and ever-changing area of scholarship, media practice, and public concern. With new topics, case studies, and interviews by Paul Martin Lester, Stephanie A. Martin, and Martin Rodden-Smith, the work is engaging, relevant, and timely. This book should be read and consulted by politicians, journalists, and researchers alike. It is especially accessible to students exploring the confusing and often troubling effects of images on their lives."

David D. Perlmutter, Professor and Dean of Media & Communication, Texas Tech University, USA

"Informative, engaging, and inviting, this new edition of Visual Ethics is an indispensable resource for media professionals as well as for students and scholars in this exciting and rapidly changing field."

Timothy Beal, Florence Harkness Professor of Religion and Director of h.lab, Case Western Reserve University, USA